In all, 245,694 visitors saw this year’s major summer show 'Impressionism – Expressionism’, which closed yesterday at the Alte Nationalgalerie. 'ImEx’ now goes down as the exhibition with the highest visitor numbers in the gallery’s history.
Over the 109 days open to the public, a total of 2500 group and 600 school tours were held and some 21,000 VIP tickets sold. Approximately 20,000 exhibition catalogues were sold in the museum gift shop alone. During the exhibition’s 17-week run, around 65,000 people (26 percent of all visitors) took advantage of the offer of an audio guide, including a kids’ audio guide. 'ImEx’ attracted some 15,000 visitors in the last four days alone, with queues forming round the building.
Udo Kittelmann, director of the Nationalgalerie (of which the Alte Nationalgalerie is part), said he was 'Very pleased ... that the prized works of Impressionism and Expressionism in the Nationalgalerie’s collection, joined by several high-profile loans, were placed in direct interplay with one another here for the first time.’ He went on to say: 'The overwhelming international response and broad public appeal, including from art experts, means we can count this as a great success for the gallery and the Nationalgalerie’s collection as a whole.’ Philipp Demandt, director of the Alte Nationalgalerie, added: 'The overwhelming success of ImEx shows the great potential inherent in the Nationalgalerie’s own collections that is waiting to be tapped if one is prepared to find new and surprising angles from which to look at them.’
The Nationalgalerie (initially housed entirely in the Alte Nationalgalerie) was one of the first art museums in the world to acquire Impressionist paintings for its collection, in 1896. In 1919, just two decades later, a large number of Expressionist works swelled its collection. The Alte Nationalgalerie’s show extensively traced, for the first time, the similarities and differences between the two art movements, which contemporary critics were quick to compare with each another in their scorn. Some 160 masterpieces, including by Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde and Franz Marc, were on view over the entire middle floor of the Alte Nationalgalerie, arranged according to common themes. More than half of the works on display came from the Nationalgalerie’s own collection and were enriched by high-profile works on loan from international museums.