Amidst troubled world economies and tepid art sales, stories of galleries closing and museums in trouble are being reported more frequently. Although art institutions in Europe are perhaps in a better position because of heavy government subsidies when compared to the U.S., in these times, they too are seeking additional, more creative means of funding.
News has come out recently that the Louvre is setting up their first-ever endowment fund with the $230 million installment paid to them from the United Arab Emirates. We are sure you have already heard, but they have paid the French government to build a museum with the Louvre name (artist’s conception seen above) on Saakiyat Island, near Abu Dhabi, scheduled to open in 2012. The ruling sheiks have agreed to invest an astronomical sum, a total of $2 billion when it’s all done and said ($525 million to French government for use of the Louvre brand, plus a gift of $33 million to renovate a wing of the Paris Louvre, $750 million to bring French staff and 300 loaned works, renovate a French palace, fund an artwork restoration center in Paris, and actual construction costs of the museum itself). And, of course, this does not include even higher cost of acquiring a world class collection of artworks to fill the 260,000 square foot museum once the 30-year art loan period with France expires.
The cultural district where this museum is to be built will be a sight to behold as other projects include a Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, a maritime museum and a performing arts center all designed by world renowned artchitects Jean Nouvel (Louvre Abu Dhabi), Frank Gehry (Guggenheim Abu Dahbi), Zaha Hadid (performing arts center), and Tadao Ando (maritime museum).