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Detroit Institute of Arts’ Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus Exhibition huge Success - More than 116,000 visitors pack show during 12-week run

Monday, February 20, 2012

(Detroit)—Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus, which was on view at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) Nov. 20, 2011–Feb. 12, 2012, was seen by 116,392 visitors from almost every state, including Alaska and Hawaii.

The exhibition brought together for the first time many of Rembrandt’s finest paintings, prints and drawings that portray Jesus and events described in the Bible. The museum extended hours three times during the last month of the exhibition to accommodate people eager to see many of Rembrandt’s masterpieces that rarely travel to the United States.

The museum received significant positive feedback, from comment cards, posts on the DIA’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and emails. Many expressed how much they enjoyed the presentation of the exhibition, which included an interactive multi-media tour and videos that placed the art in its historical and cultural context.

“We are delighted with the public’s response,” said Graham W. J. Beal, DIA director. “People were deeply moved by the exhibition and we believe word-of-mouth was a major factor in the attendance number. Many new visitors had a chance to see what the DIA has to offer, and we look forward to them returning.”

Museum memberships also received a boost. More than 4800 new and renewed memberships were purchased during the run of the exhibition. Since memberships are good for one year, in addition to getting in free for Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus, DIA members also get free admission to Fabergé: Designing Luxury, from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which opens in October.

The museum shop and CaféDIA both saw a strong increase in business. Many items in the museum shop sold out and had to be reordered several times. The best seller was the variety of Dutch sweets, including licorice, cookies and chocolate. Both the hard and soft cover exhibition catalogs sold out, as did the postcards that feature the DIA’s Face of Jesus and the colorful wooden tulips. CaféDIA saw an almost 50% increase in customers. The most popular items for hungry visitors were pizza and “cheesy biscuits.”

Group sales were robust, and tours were booked as early as last spring. In addition to metro Detroit, groups came from Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, and Windsor, Canada. Lisa Rezin, group sales director, encourages groups interested in seeing the upcoming Fabergé exhibition to book early so they are able to get their preferred time slot. “About a month into the Rembrandt exhibition, time slots were beginning to sell out,” said Rezin. “And it only got busier. We don’t want anyone to be disappointed, so booking early is always the safe bet.”

Private third-party rentals were also strong, with 22 bookings and a total of 1590 visitors. Some of the organizations that booked private events include the Harvard Club of Eastern Michigan, Archdiocese of Detroit, University of Pennsylvania, and the College of Wooster in Ohio.

The exhibition was organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Musée du Louvre and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In Detroit, the exhibition was generously supported by The Cracchiolo Family. This exhibition was supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Hours and Admission
Museum hours are 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $4 for ages 6-17, and free for DIA members. For membership information call 313-833-7971.

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The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first Van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self-Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA's collection is known for its quality, range, and depth. The DIA’s mission is to create opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art.

Programs are made possible with support from the City of Detroit.

Contact:          Pamela Marcil            313-833-7899              pmarcil@dia.org