Goya and Poussin fail to attract corporate sponsors: Royal Academy suffers decline in business support. David Lister reports

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The Independent Online
TWO PRESTIGE exhibitions to be mounted at the Royal Academy over the next year have failed to find a commercial sponsor. The unwillingness of businesses to put money into the Goya exhibition, which opens next month, or a major exhibition of Poussin opening next January, emphasises the decline in business sponsorship in the arts.

Announcing the new line-up of exhibitions yesterday, the secretary of the Royal Academy, Piers Rodgers, said: 'It is rather extraordinary that no lesser name than Goya did not manage to find a single commercial sponsor. We are distinctly worried about the fall in sponsorship during the

recession.'

The estimated pounds 200,000-plus to set up the first major exhibition of Goya's paintings in London for 30 years has been put up by an anonymous private donor. Norman Rosenthal, exhibitions organiser at the Royal Academy, said the Goya show would 'reveal a whole new aspect of his work that has hardly been noticed before'.

Comprising intimate drawings and paintings, some of which have never yet been seen in public, it would, he said, 'start as a happy, sunny exhibition then become more tragical'.

The Poussin exhibition to commemorate the artist's 400th anniversary will only be seen at the Royal Academy and the Louvre and will gather together 20 of his great landscape paintings and possibly two of his most famous series, The Sacraments. 'It will be

an astonishing sight,' Mr Rosenthal said.

The Royal Academy's big autumn exhibition will be 'The Glories of Venice, Art in the 18th Century', including works by Canaletto, Canova, Piranesi and Tiepolo.

With the Picasso at the Tate Gallery, the Claude exhibition at the National Gallery, and Dali soon to open at the Hayward Gallery, London will be a significant centre for exhibitions this year after missing out on key international shows in the last two years.

The Royal Academy made only pounds 150,000 profit on its pounds 12m turnover last year, with attendances at the summer exhibition, at 110,000, 10 per cent down on 1992.

Mr Rodgers confirmed that the Royal Academy was still negotiating with the Government to rent the Museum of Mankind building in Mayfair when the British Museum moves its ethnography collection out over the next few years.

The Royal Academy hopes to open an architectural department there, although Mr Rodgers said that it was proving difficult to get a decision out of the Department for National Heritage - or even a day on which they might make a decision.

(Photograph omitted)

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