ACT News


'Versailles: Treasures from the Palace': most popular NGA show in five years

 Versailles: Treasures from the Palace was the most popular show the National Gallery of Australia has hosted in the past five years. 

It appears people couldn't resist experiencing the life, culture and art of Versailles in our nation's capital as 190,128 people flooded through the doors

Over a five month period Versailles: Treasures from the Palace engaged crowds with its rich program of lectures, workshops and activities.

Close to 20 per cent of visitors saw the exhibition within 23 days of its December 6 launch in 2016.

National Gallery of Australia director Gerard Vaughan said the exhibition drove recreation and education tourism.

It attracted 250 school groups and drew 70 per cent of its visitors from outside the ACT.


The show pipped the success of Turner from the Tate in 2013, which drew 153,627, as well as the NGA's Tom Roberts exhibition, another huge one, which clocked up 125,000 visitors in 2016.

The big blockbuster figures are a drastic lift after 2014 when the gallery had 36,821 people attend Arthur Boyd: Agony and ecstasy and 74,412 through the door for James Turrell: A retrospective. 

There was early excitement about the unique show launched by NGA Ambassador Tina Arena.

However there was no end to the spectacles on show throughout with an olfactory installation by master French perfumer Francis Kurkdjian, reflecting Louis XIV's obsession with perfume use.

The formal Versailles-inspired garden entrance created by celebrity gardener, Paul Bangay and Baroque performances by the Brandenburg Orchestra delighted crowds as much as the incredibly popular mini-palace playground for children, NGA Play.

Mr Vaughan said it was great to see so many patrons responded to the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the works outside of France.

'We are thrilled with the response to this very special exhibition,' said Mr Vaughan,

"In addition to the show itself, the NGA's dynamic program of lectures,workshops, activities, conferences, members' events and children's programs provided an insight for our many visitors into the lives and loves of the kings, queens and courtiers of Versailles."