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Gustav Klimt 150th anniversary celebrations help Vienna to record tourism year in 2012
People look at "The Kiss" painting by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna. On his 150th birthday, Vienna's museums offered an intimate look at Gustav Klimt, digging beneath the layers of paint and scratching away at the artist... but not without a good dose of kitsch. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER KLEIN.
VIENNA (AFP).- Special events marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of painter Gustav Klimt helped Vienna enjoy a record year for tourism in 2012, with overnight stays rising 7.5 percent, the Austrian capital's tourism board said on Monday.

"I would like to give Gustav Klimt a 'Kiss'," tourism chief Norbert Kettner said, in reference to the Austrian artist's most famous painting.

"All museums and cultural institutions with Klimt works deserve special thanks."

In total, 5.6 million people visited Vienna, 7.2 percent more than in 2011, accounting for 12.3 million overnight stays. Kettner said he expects "moderate" growth in 2013.

Hotels were also expected to have earned more than 500 million euros ($665 million) for the first time, helped by a 22-percent rise in Russian visitors and a 40-percent jump from China.

Born in 1862, Klimt was a key figure of Vienna's art scene during its heyday as a cultural and intellectual hub, bustling with the likes of Sigmund Freud, Adolf Loos, Egon Schiele and Otto Wagner.




© 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse





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January 22, 2013

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