Like the Louvre and Pompidou, 2012 Was a Record Attendance Year for the Musee d’Orsay

All three of Paris’s major art museums have now reported record attendance figures for 2012: First the Louvre, then the Centre Pompidou, and now the Musée d’Orsay. After declining attendance figures in 2008, 2009, and 2010, Orsay has bounced back, with 3,144,449 in 2011 and it’s on track to eclipse that figure and its previous record — 3,166,509 in 2007 — with a whopping 3.6 million visitors this year, AFP reports.

That figure represents a 15 percent increase in attendance over the past year, which, taken with the Pompidou and Louvre numbers, suggests a sweeping spike in visitors to Paris’s cultural institutions.

According to an Orsay press release, the record numbers were due in large part to the reopening of renovated gallery spaces at the museum, as well as blockbuster exhibitions including “Degas and the Nude” and “Misia, Queen of Paris,” which brought in 480,000 and 400,000 visitors, respectively. Meanwhile, “Impressionism and Fashion,” which will close its Paris run on January 21 before traveling to the Metropolitan Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago, is on track to bring in 500,000 visitors.

The Musée de l’Orangerie, which is operated by Orsay and covers a similar period in art history focused on Impressionism, saw an even larger increase in attendance, with a 20 percent boost in 2012 for a projected total of 800,000 visitors.

— Benjamin Sutton

(Photo © Musée d’Orsay, Sophie Boegly.)