The Musée du Louvre had a record 10.2 million visitors in 2018—an increase of 25% in comparison with 2017. No other museum in the world has ever equaled this figure. The Louvre’s previous record of 9.7 million dates from 2012, the year that saw the inauguration of the Department of Islamic Art and the presentation of exhibitions on Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael.
The recovery of tourism in France—specially in Paris—boosted visitor attendance in 2018, as did the flagship exhibition “Delacroix (1798–1863).” Elsewhere in the world, interest in the Louvre was bolstered by the Louvre Abu Dhabi (which recently celebrated its first anniversary), and by Beyoncé and JAY-Z’s “Apeshit” video, with its tribute to some of the museum’s greatest artworks.
In 2019, the Louvre is launching free and festive new events called “Saturday Night Openings,” to be held on the first Saturday of every month. These twelve night openings will replace the free openings on the first Sunday of the month from October to March, when the museum’s usual admission rates will be applied.
The exhibition “Delacroix (1798–1863)” from March 29 to July 23, 2018, broke previous records with an average daily attendance of 5,150 and a total of almost 540,000 visitors, making this historical retrospective the most successful exhibition ever held at the Louvre. Exceptionally, eleven free night openings in July allowed almost 25,000 more people to visit the exhibition.
Some 90,000 visitors have already attended the major exhibition “A Dream of Italy: The Marquis Campana’s Collection” (from November 7, 2018 to February 18, 2019). The exhibitions held in 2018 in the Petite Galerie—“Power Plays” (to July 5, 2018) and “Archaeology Goes Graphic” (from September 26, 2018)—were attended by 390,000 visitors. The Louvre Auditorium is continuing its efforts to democratize art history; 2,300 people attended the series of five lectures on the Egyptians and their mythology by the Egyptologist Dimitri Meeks.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi celebrated its first anniversary on November 8, 2018, having drawn one million visitors during its first year. A hundred artworks from the Louvre in the museum’s permanent collections can be admired by new (especially Asian) visitors, who have yet to visit France; the majority of visitors to the Louvre Abu Dhabi are Indian.
The Musée National Eugène-Delacroix drew almost 80,000 visitors in 2018, due in particular to the success of two exhibitions: “Real and Imaginary Depictions of the Orient: a Matter of Gazes” (January 11 to April 2, 2018) co-organized with the Lilian Thuram Foundation, and “Grappling with the Modern, from Delacroix to the Present Day” (April 11 to July 23, 2018).
“I’m delighted that the Louvre is so popular,” tells us the Louvre’s president-director Jean-Luc Martinez. “Our goal is not so much to attract more visitors as to provide better visiting conditions. The recent changes we have made and are continuing to implement have improved the quality of visitor reception. The renovation of the infrastructures under the Pyramid and the introduction of time-slot tickets have helped us level out visitor numbers throughout the year and reduce ticket lines outside the museum.” - GM
Images courtesy of The Louvre Museum