On view from July 26 through November 4, 2003, the exhibition Marc Chagall at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)—the only North American venue—has been a phenomenal success. During the month of October, SFMOMA hosted more than 115,000 visitors, making it the highest-attended month in the Museum’s history. Throughout the run of the exhibition, attendance totaled 363,641—over 4,000 per day—which is also a record for SFMOMA. The exhibition has been popular among a wide variety of visitors, including seniors, students and out-of-town guests.
“We have been so pleased with the success of Marc Chagall,” states SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra. “SFMOMA is proud to have presented such an engaging and popular exhibition of Chagall’s work, and the wide success of this show reaffirms the humanistic value of art and culture.”
SFMOMA hosted more than 400 special group and school tours and partnered with the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau and many local hotels to offer Marc Chagall packages, making a positive economic impact on the city of San Francisco.
More than 95,000 people—over a quarter of the total number of visitors—listened to the Marc Chagall Antenna Audio Tour while viewing the exhibition, which represents a tremendous increase compared to previous special exhibitions at the Museum. “This is a special testament to the keen interest of the community in enhancing the gallery visit. Today’s museum visitor seeks to increase his or her enjoyment and understanding of modern and contemporary art, and we are thrilled to be able to provide interesting and thought-provoking audio tours to this end,” stated John S. Weber, the Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Programs.
SFMOMA’s membership has also increased dramatically since Marc Chagall opened. An estimated 13,700 new members joined the Museum over the past three months, bringing the current total to more than 48,000, the largest modern-art museum membership in the country.
The SFMOMA MuseumStore enjoyed its busiest three months ever during the exhibition. The Marc Chagall catalogue has become the best-selling SFMOMA publication thus far, with more than 16,000 books sold through the MuseumStore alone (additional hardcover copies are available in bookstores nationwide from the catalogue’s trade copublisher, Harry N. Abrams Inc.). Catalogue sales at the MuseumStore surpassed those of SFMOMA’s previous best-seller, Magritte, by nearly 6,000 copies. The MuseumStore also sold more than 200,000 Chagall-related products such as calendars, notecards, postcards and posters.
Attendance at SFMOMA surpassed the number of visitors at the Paris presentation at the Galeries nationales du Grand Palais between March 14 and June 23, 2003, where a total of 353,822 visitors viewed the exhibition.