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The Art Newspaper’s Visitor Figures: The Highlights

The annual world-wide museum attendance survey, Visitor Figures, done by The Art Newspaper was released April 2nd showing the most popular museums and exhibits of the year. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Tang Yin: One of the Four Masters of Ming Dynasty

Taiwan’s National Palace Museum took the top three most popular exhibitions, Great Master of the Ming Dynasty: Tang Yin, The All Complete Qianlong: Emperor Gaozong, and Qianlong C.H.A.O.: New Media Art Exhibition. The Great Master of the Ming Dynasty: Tang Yin brought in an average of 12,861 daily visitors and 1,131,788 total for the most visited exhibit of the year. To compare, the first mention of an American exhibit was MoMA’s Magritte: the Mystery of the Ordinary at 17th with 6,131 visitors daily and 643,783 total. However, MoMA does bost 21 out of the 30 most visited shows in New York last year. Though the National Palace Museum had the top three exhibits, they did not make the top ten in overall museum attendance. The Louvre — basically the number one seed for the march madness enthusiasts — took the top spot as it has for seven years now (when the study was first conducted) with 9,260,000 visitors in 2014. But the upset in the lineup was the National Gallery with 6,416,724 surpassing the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 6,162,147.

The National Gallery in London. Photograph: Eamonn McCabe/Guardian

Authors of the online article for The Art Newspaper, Javier Pes and Emily Sharpe said, “The National Gallery in London had a good year, moving ahead of the much larger Met. Around 6.4 million visitors went to see the collection of Old and Modern Masters in London.” They also said October’s “Late Rembrandt” may have given the gallery a year-end boost. “Museums and galleries have become masters of the mega-blockbuster: big, once-in-a-lifetime exhibitions like Matisse at Tate Modern or Rembrandt at the National Gallery that become must-see attractions,” said Will Gompertz, arts editor for BBC. He explains that the major factors driving the positive progression of London museums — according to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions — comes down to three things: tourism, culture and education. “No institution is better at this than the British Museum, which attracts a large number of its domestic visits by offering well-packaged displays and exhibitions that tie-in directly to the school curriculum.”

An 1890 painting by Vincent Van Gogh entitled “Almond Blossoms.” Even if you have $100 million or so to spend on a famous painting, the original masterpieces of Vincent Van Gogh are not for sale. But for $35,000 you can purchase a three-dimensional reproduction. (Photo: Maurice Tromp)

One more takeaway from the study: Van Gogh can always draw a crowd hitting 15th in most visited exhibit in Paris’ Musee d’Orsay where his work was paired with the writing of poet and playwright, Antonin Artaud. The exhibit was the only showing for Paris that made it in the top 20 most popular exhibits.

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