Exhibitions Museums Attendance Spain

Dalí puts Picasso in the shade in Madrid

Reina Sofía celebrates record attendance for Salvador Dalí show

Crowds snake around the Reina Sofía for the Dalí blockbuster

It's been a hot summer for Salvador Dalí in Madrid. An exhibition of the Spanish artist’s work, which closed yesterday, 2 September, has drawn record crowds to the Centro Museo Nacional Centro de Art Reina Sofía in the Spanish capital. A museum spokesman confirms that 732,339 people visited “Dali: All of the Poetic Suggestions and All of the Plastic Possibilities”. There were long lines to get in, and the Reina Sofía stayed open until 11pm to cope with the demand. Before Dalí, the museum's most popular recent exhibition was a Picasso show in 2008, featuring loans from the Musée Picasso, Paris, which attracted around 548,00 visitors.

The Dalí exhibition opened in Madrid at the end of April, having travelled from Paris’s Centre Pompidou where in ran from last November until March and received around 790,000 visitors in total. Co-organised by the Reina Sofía and the Centre Pompidou, the show was created in collaboration with the Fundació Sala-Salvador Dalí, Figueres, and the Salvador Dalí Museum, Saint Petersburg, Florida.

The surrealist’s art has a history of breaking attendance records: in 2009 the exhibition “Dalí: Liquid Desire” was a blockbuster for the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, attracting more than 333,000 visitors at a rate of 3,400 per day.

To put the Madrid and Paris Dalí figures into context, an exhibition about the relationship between the artist’s paintings and film attracted more modest crowds during its international tour from 2007 to 2008: around 168,000 visitors saw “Dalí and Film” at London’s Tate Modern and around 125,000 when it travelled to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. However, at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the same show pulled in an impressive 450,000 visitors.

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