Record crowds force Matisse-Picasso show to go round-the-clock

The Matisse-Picasso exhibition at Tate Modern is to open round-the-clock on its final weekend next month and is on course to be the most popular exhibition the gallery has staged.

More than 400,000 people are expected to have visited by the time the show closes on 18 August, a figure that puts it on a par with the 1996 Cézanne show at the original Tate gallery, now Tate Britain.

The all-night opening will be only the second time that a London exhibition has proved so popular that it has been forced to keep its doors open to cope with demand.

The Royal Academy opened through the night at the end of its record-breaking exhibition of Monet's 20th century paintings in 1999, which attracted nearly 8,600 visitors a day and caused queues in Piccadilly.

Few shows since have been in that league, but the Matisse-Picasso exhibition, which opened on 11 May, is attracting about 4,000 people a day.

On the final weekend, the doors will open at 10am on Saturday 17 August and not close until 10pm the next day.

Special tour guides have been arranged. George Melly, the writer and jazz legend, will take the first tour at 11pm and Tim Marlow, presenter of Channel 5's recent programmes on the Tate, will follow at midnight. Lizzy Cowling, the curator, takes the 1am slot.

From Friday next week, the gallery will also open late until 10pm every night.

Previous successful Tate exhibitions include Constable in 1976, which attracted 310,000 people, a Picasso show in 1994 which drew just under 300,000 and a Bonnard exhibition in 1998 which lured 276,000 visitors.

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