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On Sunday 2 September 2012, visitors to Turner Contemporary will have their last opportunity to enjoy Auguste Rodin’s famous sculpture, The Kiss (1901–4), framed against the sea in the gallery’s spectacular double height window. In 2003 British art lovers, consulted in a survey, voted this the country's most popular work of art. It represents Paolo and Francesca, adulterous lovers whose story is told in Dante's Inferno. The sculpture has at times been considered too erotic or indecent for public consumption.
Turner Contemporary’s Director, Victoria Pomery, is expecting a rush in the final few days:
The Kiss has proved to be a huge hit with our visitors, many of whom still seem surprised to find such an iconic work of art here in Margate. By the time it leaves us in September, well over 400,000 visitors will have marvelled at this incredible sculpture, and we know many people have returned to see it a number of times.
The Kiss has helped Turner Contemporary to maintain an unexpectedly high volume of visitors, as Pomery explains:
We were expecting to see a fall in visitors from our opening year, a pattern that tends to be repeated when new galleries open. In actual fact we are currently running about 4% up on the same period in 2011 and are delighted with the response we are continuing to get from our visitors. We have had a particularly busy June and July, with visitors really being drawn to see The Kissand ‘She Lay Down Deep Beneath the Sea’, the Tracey Emin exhibition.
The Kiss has been on loan from Tate since October 2011 as part of Tate's extensive programme of loans to museums and galleries across the UK, intended to provide the widest possible access to the national collection of British and international modern and contemporary art.
Caroline Collier, director of Tate National said:
This has been a fantastic chance for visitors from across the South East to enjoy The Kiss. The fact that over 400,000 visitors have done this is truly remarkable. Turner Contemporary, part of the Plus Tate network of 18 of the most dynamic visual arts organizations in the UK, has, since opening in April 2011, been extraordinary successful in attracting large audiences and inspiring people through art. To see the sculpture in this beautiful gallery makes us all look at it in a new way.
Turner Contemporary is open Tuesday to Sunday each week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.