Media Release

Abu Dhabi Festival opens the 2019 Visual Arts Exhibition: ‘Distant Prospects’ featuring European Landscape Paintings from LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections

Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation brings landmark exhibition to the Middle East for the first time, presenting the works of key figures in the Late Renaissance and Baroque artistic movements


Hosted at Manarat al Saadiyat from 26 February to 25 March, the exhibition is accompanied by an engaging educational programme with a diverse itinerary of cultural engagements


(Abu Dhabi, UAE: 26 February 2019): The Abu Dhabi Festival 2019 launches its diverse Visual Arts Programme with the opening of a landmark exhibition on 25 February, in the presence of H.E. Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Culture & Tourism; H.S.H. Prince Philipp von und zu Liechtenstein & H.S.H. Princess Isabelle von und zu Liechtenstein; H.E. Huda I. Alkhamis-Kanoo, Founder of Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival; Dr. Johann Kräftner, Director of LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections and H.E. Hamad Al Kaabi, the Ambassador of the UAE to Austria.


Distant Prospects – European Landscape Paintings from LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections presents the history of European landscape painting from one of the world’s most important private collections. These masterpieces have never before been seen in the Middle East, and the paintings date back to the 15th century, featuring key figures in the Late Renaissance and Baroque artistic movements, including works by Lucas Cranach the Elder, Joos de Momper, Jan Brueghel the Younger and Peter Paul Rubens, among many others, collected and preserved over many generations by the House of Liechtenstein.


Distant Prospects is a historic exhibition of priceless treasures, the likes of which has never been seen in the UAE and is now open to the public until 25 March 2019 in Gallery S at Manarat al Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi.


UAE Minister commented: “His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, declared 2019 as the Year of Tolerance. It calls attention to the nation’s respect for diversity, inclusion, and an empathetic understanding of the identity and difference of human beings. Tolerance and inclusion have been at the heart of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and the Abu Dhabi Festival. They have promoted an appreciation and understanding of diversity. As it turns sixteen this year, the Festival continues to enrich the cultural life of Abu Dhabi and to open a space for artists and creative talent to innovate and flourish.


“Visual arts have always been an integral component of the Festival. Distant Prospects, debuting this year in the Middle East, celebrates the visual arts by exhibiting over 400 years of cultural diversity and artistic talent that significantly contribute to an informed comprehension of the history of art. Without a doubt, the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and the Abu Dhabi Festival and their tireless and visionary founder, H.E. Huda I. Alkhamis-Kanoo, have reinforced the UAE’s dedication to diversity, tolerance, and intellectual and artistic excellence. They will do it again in 2019 and will again earn the boundless gratitude of the United Arab Emirates.”


H.E. Huda I. Alkhamis-Kanoo, Founder of ADMAF and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival, said: “Appreciating art has always been a key element of cultural dialogue, for the ability to look into the past, as portrayed by artists hundreds of years ago in faraway lands, serves to broaden our understanding of how different cultures have evolved over time. Abu Dhabi Festival has long been involved in the evolution of visual arts in the country, by hosting creative masterpieces from around the world and we are very excited to welcome more than 70 classic masterpieces from LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, some of which date back to the 15th century. For us to be able to view and enjoy these priceless artworks is a vital aspect of cultural exchange, facilitating the dialogue between nations and people, ultimately encouraging understanding and tolerance.


“As part of Distant Prospects, this exchange took place in the exciting form of a special residency for five young Emirati artists who visited the Principality of Liechtenstein and the neighbouring Austrian Capital, Vienna. There, they experienced the Garden Palace and City Palace of the House of Liechtenstein, the Liechtenstein Art Museum, the Hilti Art Foundation, Kunstforum, the Albertina Museum, the Maria Lassnig Foundation and Vienna’s MUMOK Museum – experiences that may inspire new works they produce in the coming months and years. By hosting landmark exhibitions such as this, Abu Dhabi Festival continues to contribute to inspire a better tomorrow for each and every one of us, such is the power of culture in bringing people together in tolerance and unity.”


H.S.H. Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein commented: “Why do we collect pictures, works of art? I could say because it is part of the tradition of a family, because these mobile treasures are always valued as a moveable investment as well. But my family collects such works of art first and foremost because, for generations, we have taken such pleasure in these treasures themselves and still do today. In my castle in Vaduz, and in the palaces in Vienna, we live with many of these treasures, among them extremely important landscapes both serene and dramatic, with seascapes, hunting scenes and Biedermeier idylls. It gives me particular pleasure that now people in the Middle East can now see my pictures first hand and share this enjoyment.”


Dr. Johann Kräftner, Director of LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections said: “This is a wonderful opportunity, to transport visitors in Abu Dhabi to Europe via visions of European landscapes. I hope everyone takes the opportunity to roam through the multifarious past worlds that are represented here, and to share all their pleasures. A small universe unfolds in this exhibition, from the earliest small-sized, idealising Italian panels, to narrative Dutch landscapes populated by countless small figures, serene urban landscapes, and on to the dramatic spectacles of seascapes and battle paintings.”


Parallel to the exhibition, this year’s Abu Dhabi Festival Visual Arts Programme will also include an engaging educational programme to inspire aspiring and emerging artists. It will include a series of interactive talks and panel discussions, guided exhibition tours and practical creative workshops inspired by the works on display.


The full calendar of events is as follows:


  • Distant Prospects Exhibition | Panel Discussion and Curator’s Tour

Wednesday 27 Feb | 6.30 – 8.30 PM

Gallery S, Manarat al Saadiyat


  • Distant Prospects Exhibition | Sketching Perspectives Workshop

Wednesday 6 March, 3 – 5 PM

Tuesday 19 March, 3 – 5 PM

Manarat al Saadiyat


  • Distant Prospects Exhibition | Landscapes in Layers Painting Workshop

Wednesday 13 March, 3 – 5 PM

Sunday 24 March, 3 – 5 PM

Manarat al Saadiyat


  • Distant Prospects Exhibition | Guided Tour & Sharjah Biennial Road Trip

Saturday 16 March, 11 – 8 PM

Manarat al Saadiyat


  • Riwaq Al Fikr Talk by Manuel Borja-Villel, Director of Museo Reina Sofía

Thursday 21 March, 12 PM

Manarat al Saadiyat


  • Distant Prospects Exhibition | Guided Tour and Art Dubai Road Trip

Saturday 23 March, 11 – 8 PM

Manarat al Saadiyat



Already having extended the programme further afield, the specially-designed, week-long Abu Dhabi Festival Visual Arts Residency Programme in January 2019 offered a unique and unforgettable experience for practicing Emirati artists to develop and shape their artistic practice within an international context, while facilitating important cultural dialogue between them and their contemporaries overseas. Five artists from ADMAF’s Nationals’ Gallery – Aisha Juma, Taqwa Al Naqbi, Hamdan Buti Al Shamsi, Asma Khoory, and Maitha Abdalla – met with the Princely Collections team in Vaduz, Liechtenstein and Vienna, Austria. They also visited key cultural venues and museums, with the programme culminating in meeting with the UAE’s Ambassador to Austria, H.E. Hamad Al Kaabi.