The construction of the Louvre Abu Dhabi provides an opportunity to consider the ways in which the Louvre represents the values the French consider “universal,” and the political and practical effects of exporting those values. While the alleged commercialization of the Louvre caused considerable controversy in France, participants in the debate shared assumptions about the importance of universalism within France. While the new museum’s purchases suggest that European painting continues to be the valued default signifier of universal value in art, the intentions and practices of the museum in the United Arab Emirates may challenge the French notion of universalism.