This list regularly reflects museum goers’ appetite for paying to see male artists at the heart of the art-historical canon: only one of the top ten shows was free, and the names are mostly the usual suspects, including the ubiquitous Edvard Munch and Vincent van Gogh. Indeed, you have to go down to the 13th most popular show in this category to find a woman artist, the Brazilian Tarsila do Amaral. And despite the acclaim and surprise at its success, the Solomon R. Guggenheim’s Hilma af Klint exhibition only comes in 18th, though it did have the sixth most visitors overall (663,849 in total; 3,458 daily). But there are some surprises in the top ten: two self-taught artists, the African American painter Bill Traylor, and the Georgian folk artist Niko Pirosmani. It is notable that figurative art appears to win over abstraction: Munch, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Van Gogh and Traynor form the top five, with Vasarely, Joan Miró and Lucio Fontana below them.
Top 10 Post-Impressionist and Modern exhibitions
• For The Art Newspaper’s full Art’s Most Popular visitor figures survey, see our April issue. To read a selection online, see Art’s Most Popular 2020