National Gallery of Australia's Blog

Adieu Masterpieces from Paris

Posted in Masterpieces from Paris by National Gallery of Australia on 29/04/2010

Masterpieces from Paris has been the most successful exhibition in Australian history. Getting 476,000 people through the doors was a challenge for all involved but we have heard some great stories of inspiration and engagement with art through the comments left in the foyer, Twitter, facebook, blogs and emails.

There were people making paper pirate hats while in the queue as shelter from the sunny Canberra spring days, whiling away the time by tweeting photos of everything, including the ‘epic sausage roll’ served in the Gallery cafe.  Starry Night caused more than one person to burst into tears. A story came through on facebook about a man having a quiet word with a security guard for a moment in front of the Monets, dropping to his knees and proposing to his companion. The 36-hour opening was a success with people turning up in pyjamas,  free “I spent the night with van Gogh” badges and ABC radio broadcasting live from the Gallery.

 Gallery member and art student Dorothea (Dash) Kossmann used her season pass to visit Masterpieces 25 times, from the very first day it opened to being the last person driven from the exhibition by a friendly security guard on the final day. While her first visit was a little over-whelming she found return visits enabled her to engage with the art in different ways. While attempting to burn the works of art into her visual memory Dorothea kept seeing something new each time, right up until the last day when she noticed a tiny dash of red on one of the figures in Starry Night.

What revelations, surprises or disappointments did you find? Did you cry in front of Starry Night?


2 Responses

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  1. Phillip and Kelli Hughes said, on 30/04/2010 at 10:44 am

    We can’t quite match the 20+ but we did make it 15 times – even more important we brought our two great grandchildren. They enjoyed the exhibition but enjoyed even more the chidren’s room. We were really impressed by the provision there, really excellent as was the help offered to the children by gallery staff. We are confident that when our 5-year-old and his 3-year-old sister can pay they will be gallery goers for another 80 years to match me.

    With admiration and thanks

    Phillip and Kelli Hughes
    (via email to

    • Dorothea (Dash) Kossmann said, on 02/05/2010 at 11:22 am

      POSTSCRIPT – I was gently COAXED out by a real gentleman, John Verheul.

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