The man in charge of Paris’s world renowned Louvre will stand down from his role before the completion of the museum’s Abu Dhabi franchise, AFP reported.
Henri Loyrette, who has been in charge of the Louvre for more than ten years, will leave his position at the close of his current term of office in April 2013, he told the news agency.
Loyrette’s decision means that he will not oversee the completion of the delayed and controversial Abu Dhabi Louvre on Saadiyat Island.
The project, which drew scorn from the art world when announced, was along with the Abu Dhabi branch of New York’s Guggenheim originally scheduled to open between 2013 and 2014. Both were however delayed due to a government review of the projects.
The project’s developer Tourism Development & Investment Company now says it will start construction on both the Louvre and Guggenheim in the first quarter of 2013.
The museums and New York University are among institutions that plan to set up branches on Saadiyat Island, a US$27bn cultural project in Abu Dhabi, where they will be housed alongside a golf course and high-end housing developments.
The development of Saadiyat Island is one of the largest cultural projects in the Middle East, but last year more than 130 artists said they would boycott the Guggenheim museum there over what they said was exploitation of foreign workers.