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Sunday, April 18, 1999 Published at 17:55 GMT 18:55 UK


Art-around-the-clock closes Monet show

About 8,000 people a day have visited the Monet show

An unprecedented 34 hour non-stop viewing has ended at the Royal Academy (RA) in London.

The BBC's Mike McDowell asks the RA's Director David Gordon if 24-hour art is the new rock'n'roll
The record-breaking Monet exhibition remained open through the weekend until 6pm on Sunday to give thousands of extra art lovers a last chance to see the show.

It was the first time a major art exhibition in the UK has stayed open all night.

[ image: 24-hour opening is a UK-first for a major exhibition]
24-hour opening is a UK-first for a major exhibition
To reduce overcrowding, the academy admitted only a limited number of people for each hour, with a record 8,200 visitors each day paying £9 each to see 80 of the impressionist's later works.

An RA spokeswoman said: "We think it is an historic event, which reflects the 24-hour society we live in, and it provides people who haven't yet seen the exhibition with an opportunity to do so."

[ image: Royal Academy was expecting a last-minute rush]
Royal Academy was expecting a last-minute rush
The publicity surrounding the exhibition has boosted the fortunes of the once-troubled Academy.

In 1996 it had a £3m deficit, but now it is down to £500,000.

Academy chiefs hope the proceeds from the Monet exhibition will help to wipe out the debt altogether.

Several Monet fans explain why they are at the exhibition so late at night
The Monet exhibition brought together the later works of the founder of impressionism, with about 80 paintings from private and public collections around the world.

They include views of his garden at Giverny, atmospheric paintings of London and Venice and some of his giant water lily panels.

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