Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

International visitor figures

“Hidden Talent”, a survey of paintings by Taiwanese artist Chen Cheng-po, was the most-attended show of 2015.

Javier Pes, Jose Da Silva, Emily Sharpe, Visitor Figures 2015: Jeff Koons is the toast of Paris and Bilbao, The Art Newspaper, 31 March 2016

But Taipei tops the most visited exhibition list, with a show of works by the 20th-century artist Chen Cheng-po.

Matisse cut-outs in New York, Monet landscapes in Tokyo and Picasso paintings in Rio de Janeiro were overshadowed in 2015 by attendance at nine shows organised by the National Palace Museum in Taipei. The eclectic group of exhibitions topped our annual survey despite the fact that the Taiwanese national museum’s total attendance fell slightly during its 90th anniversary year.

More than 12,000 people a day—locals and coachloads of visitors fr om mainland China—visited the Taipei museum last year. They saw exhibitions on subjects as diverse as the work of female Chinese artists of the 16th and 17th centuries, paintings of fish and Chinese book binding.

Local pride helped make a survey of paintings by a Taiwanese artist the most-attended show of 2015. Chen Cheng-po was one of thousands killed in a 1947 massacre that remained taboo for decades. The artist, whose work combines modern Western and traditional Chinese influences, was shot by Chinese Nationalist troops during an anti-government uprising known as the February 28 Incident.

Shuffle in total museum attendance

The terrorist attacks on Paris in November had an impact on visitor numbers to the city’s museums. Many institutions closed and school tours were cancelled in the wake of the tragedy. Overall, the Louvre’s total attendance dipped to around 8.6 million, down from 9.2 million in 2014. The Centre Pompidou’s attendance also fell 12.5%, to three million visitors. The Musée d’Orsay’s figures held steady, while attendance at the Palais de Tokyo rose to more than 820,000.

Despite a difficult year, the Louvre is still the world’s most-attended museum. London’s British Museum, which is free to visit, remained in second place, with 6.8 million visitors (up from 6.7 million in 2014). The National Gallery in London fell from third to fifth place after a series of strikes led to temporary room closures. It was overtaken by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, whose 6.5 million visitors included those also who went to the Cloisters.

London’s Tate Modern sees attendance fluctuate more than its peers. It drew 4.7 million visitors in 2015, one million fewer than in 2014. The museum’s extension, which is due to open in June, should give it a significant boost this year.

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Council of Australasian Museum Directors, c/o Ms Daryl Karp, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House PO Box 3934 Manuka, Australian Capital Territory 2603 Australia, © CAMD 2021
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