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Historic attendance records for Schirn, Stadel, and Liebieghaus in 2012
Installation view at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt. Photo: Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 2012, Photography: Norbert Miguletz.
FRANKFURT.- The exhibition year 2012 has drawn to a close with an impressive public response manifested in a total of more than one million visitors for the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, the Städel Museum, and the Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung. Each of the three institutions notched up the best result in their history. The Schirn attracted 479.121, the Städel 447.395 and the Liebieghaus 153.737 visitors. Max Hollein, Director of the three houses in Frankfurt, is highly pleased about the past year’s outcome: “Though the success of a cultural institution depends on a variety of factors and not just on the number of visitors, the figures for 2012 leave no doubt about the remarkable vitality and unbroken relevance of our three institutions. The manifold and ambitious program of exhibitions, events, and educational offers realized by the Schirn, the Städel, and the Liebieghaus reached a total of 1.080.253 visitors in 2012. This is an extraordinary success in an extraordinary year!”

With its exhibitions dedicated to Modernism (Edvard Munch, Gustave Caillebotte), crucial contemporary positions (Jeff Koons, George Condo, Michael Riedel, Bettina Pousttchi), and important current issues (“Privacy”), the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt actually broke two attendance records in its twenty-seven-year history in 2012: drawing 479.121 visitors, the institution topped its hitherto strongest years 1989 (416.148), 1991 (411.242), 2008 (356.421), and 2010 (328.872) by far. Compared to the total of 278.848 visitors in the year before this amounts to an increase of 71 percent. The show that attracted most visitors in 2012 was “Edvard Munch. The Modern Eye” (February–May 2012) with 213.177 visitors, which also leads the list of the most successful exhibitions in the history of the institution, outshining even shows like “Wassily Kandinsky. Retrospective” (1989) with 189.385 visitors and “Woman Impressionists” (2008) with 184.793 visitors. 2012 also boasts an increase in the use of the Schirn’s online offers. Compared to the year before, 47 percent more users visited the institution’s numerous Internet platforms like or as well as its social media and video channels, which, above all, decisively stimulate the discourse with new, young target groups. The estimated penetration amounts to 2.5 million people. Presently, the preparations for the first exhibitions scheduled to be shown in 2013 – “Yoko Ono. Half-A-Wind Show – A Retrospective” (starting February 15) and “Last Works. From Manet to Kippenberger” (starting March 1) – are already in full swing. The exhibitions “Gustave Caillebotte. An Impressionist and Photography” and “Privacy. The End of Intimacy” will be on display until January 20 and February 3, 2013, respectively.

2012 was a very special year for the Städel Museum that saw the grand opening of its extension building for the collection of contemporary art. This is also reflected in the historic record attendance of 447.395 visitors. Compared to the year before (153.537, with the old building partially closed), the Städel’s number of visitors almost tripled. The strongest years of the Städel Museum until then were 2003 (398.959), 2010 (397.123), and 2009 (328.773). Besides the new presentation of the entire permanent collection, numerous much-noticed special exhibitions contributed decisively to this success. “Claude Lorrain. The Enchanted Landscape” as well as “Dark Romanticism. From Goya to Max Ernst” and “Raphael. Drawings,” still on display until January 20 and February 3, 2013, respectively, have ranked among the most popular attractions. The exhibition year 2013 at the Städel will start off with the show “Beauty and Revolution. Neoclassicism 1770–1820” offering a survey of this astoundingly vital art movement as of February 20.

The Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung also boasts its hitherto best attendance with 153.737 visitors in the one-hundred and fourth year of its existence. The institution could increase its resonance again like in the years before, setting a fourth record since its comprehensive conversion in 2008. This was mainly owed to two highly attractive special exhibitions who could not have been more different: while the first monographic show dedicated to Niclaus Gerhaert, one of the most important and influential artists of the late Gothic period, convinced many interested visitors, the US artist Jeff Koons’s world-renowned sculptures amidst the Liebieghaus’s five-millenia-spanning holdings lured numerous people to visit the institution for the first time. The lavish presentation of antiques titled “Back to Classical Antiquity. A New Approach to Ancient Greece” on display as of February 8 will be the first special exhibition in the collection of sculptures on Schaumainkai in 2013.

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