Page last updated at 18:30 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 19:30 UK

Klimt show 'set to break records'

A man examines a Gustav Klimt painting
A preview of the exhibition was held at the Tate on Thursday

Tate Liverpool is poised for a record number of visitors for its exhibition on artist Gustav Klimt, staff say.

More than 16,000 tickets have been sold for Gustav Klimt: Painting, Design And Modern Life In Vienna 1900, which opens to the public on Friday.

Director of Tate Liverpool, Christoph Grunenberg, said he spent four years working to bring it to the UK.

The exhibition, which is part of the Capital of Culture events, is the first in the UK to focus solely on Klimt.

"There have been shows where Klimt work has been included but never where it was a focus," said Mr Grunenberg.

"I'm very pleased with it. I see it as a coup that we have managed to stage a Klimt show under very difficult conditions."

Mr Grunenberg said the fragile condition of Klimt paintings and values "going through the roof" made it difficult to stage such an exhibition.

Gustav Klimt exhibition
We have already had more than 16,000 ticket sales
Tate spokeswoman

He added: "People are reluctant to lend paintings. I doubt there will ever be another exhibition due to the values and costs involved.

"The way it is going, the number of visitors will exceed our target of 100,000."

Tobias Natter, director of the Vorarlberg State Museum in Bregenz, Austria, and co-curator of the Klimt exhibition, said: "He (Gustav Klimt) was a leading member of the Viennese Secession, a progressive group of artists and artisans.

"It was Gustav Klimt and his fellows, artist fellows, who gave a significant contribution to the modern art of the 20th Century."

Mr Natter said the exhibition included many of Klimt's outstanding works of art, including landscapes, portraits and the female portraits he is known for.

A Tate spokeswoman said it was the "most comprehensive" exhibition of the artist that has been staged in the UK.

Ministerial approval

The gallery was "on target" for a record number of visitors for the show, she added.

Culture Secretary Andy Burnham said the exhibition was a "major coup" for the European Capital of Culture.

He also said he was "delighted" by the progress of the city's reign as Europe's cultural capital.

Mr Burnham said: "The cultural organisations are really rising to the challenge.

"It really is having a galvanising impact on the city and it's doing everything that the Government hoped it would when we awarded the title to the city."

The Klimt exhibition runs until 31 August.


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