Page last updated at 09:17 GMT, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 10:17 UK

US gallery closes Wales art show early due to problems

Paul Cézanne, The François Zola Dam, ca 1877-78
The paintings, including this Cézanne, are on a US tour

A US gallery has been forced to close an exhibition of art on loan from Wales worth an estimated £325m due to issues with a new air conditioning system.

The Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC was showing paintings by artists such as Turner and Cezanne, on loan from the National Museum Wales.

"There was no damage done to the art," Kristin Guiter, from the gallery, told the Washington Post newspaper.

The Turner to Cézanne show was viewed as a "true coup" for the gallery.

Honoré Daumier, The Night Walkers, 1842–47
In total, 14 paintings, including this work by Daumier, are on loan

The show opened at the end of January and was due to run until 25 April.

The gallery posted an apology on its website for the exhibition's closure.

"It was doing well," Ms Guiter said. "We were definitely disappointed to close it."

The decision to shut the exhibition on Wednesday was "completely precautionary," she said, explaining that temperatures in the gallery had been fluctuating within an "acceptable range of variance".

The Washington Post said the decision to close was "almost unheard of".

Ms Guiter told the newspaper: "We had some issues with the new air handler, the one providing the heating and cooling to the gallery. The levels were fluctuating."

She said the gallery had decided not to risk any problems. The exhibition will now continue on its tour of the US, and will open at a gallery in Albuquerque, New Mexico, next month.

The safety of the art works [is] of paramount importance to National Museum Wales and its American partners
National Museum Wales, spokeswoman

The Turner to Cézanne show, features collection of 19th and 20th Century works that belonged to sisters, Gwendoline and Margaret Davies, who acquired most of them between 1908 and 1923.

The spinsters lived all their life in mid Wales but travelled abroad and put together one of the largest art collections in the UK.

The paintings have rarely been seen outside of Europe, and many are by artists who changed the direction of modern art, such as Paul Cézanne, Honoré Daumier, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

A spokeswoman for the National Museum Wales said the gallery had been right not to risk the paintings.

She said: "We are obviously disappointed the Corcoran has had to take the decision to close the exhibition. It has been a great success there as it has been at previous venues.

"The safety of the art works [is] of paramount importance to National Museum Wales and its American partners, and has been since [the tour] began in March 2009."

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