With the de Young Museum’s post-impressionist exhibit in its final weekend and tickets sold out until it closes, fine-arts buffs are acting like die-hard Lady Gaga fans.
Scalpers are selling tickets for up to four times the normal price, and people are turning to the Internet in a desperate attempt to buy them.
A couple from Arcata offered $50 a ticket, saying, “Please! First Date Since Baby!!”
San Francisco resident Leslie Baker said she bought two of the $25 tickets for $75 apiece. They are for her in-laws, who booked flights from Denver just for the exhibit.
“They were steep, but not as steep as buying a plane ticket and not getting to go,” Baker said.
Die-hard art patrons say it is no surprise. Since Sept. 25, the de Young has held its second of two exhibitions from the permanent collection of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The exhibit features more than 100 paintings from the museum, which is undergoing renovation.
San Francisco was the only venue in America chosen to host “Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne and Beyond.” France’s president, Nicholas Sarkozy, has vowed that the art will “never again be loaned out for exhibition as a group.”
Last summer’s first exhibit, “Birth of Impressionism,” drew more than 433,000 visitors, said John Buchanan of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and the second exhibit is expected to exceed that.
By comparison, the 49ers attracted 488,124 fans to their seven 2010 home games.
Ticket prices rose as high as $80 on Craigslist on Thursday. Peter Stoll of Arcata said the enormous markup was immoral. He and his wife decided not to attend.
“If we don’t give away tickets, we’ll sell them at face value,” Stoll said of those times when he has extra tickets. “I’d rather go back to Paris than support that.”
Buchanan said the de Young is trying to accommodate more people. Through Saturday, the museum extended its operating hours until midnight, and it will be open 17 hours each day, from 7 a.m. until midnight, between Saturday and Tuesday.
Scalping for de Young exhibit tickets is not new, Buchanan said.
“We had a little of this at the end of our King Tut exhibition last winter and spring, but not to the degree we’re having it now,” he said.
“The lesson in all of this? Don’t wait, come early,” he said.
High cost for high art
Recent offers found on Craigslist.org are asking big bucks for tickets.
- Van Gogh De Young tix for this Sat or Sun - $60 (foster city)
- WTB -2- Tickets for 1/15 Van Gogh Exhibit at the de Young Museum - $100 (SF)
- 2 non member tickets 930pm on 1/15 for the sold out Post Impressionist exhibit. $100 for both. Meet at De Young around noon time day of to exchange tickets and money.
- 2-8 tix Sat 9am, 2-8 txi Sun 9am, $49 each tix
- I have two tickets for 1/15 3:30pm entry. Ticket is $70 each. I will meet you at de Young at that time.
- $75 each obo...please reply with amount need...priority to anyone willing to buy all the tickets! First come first serve.
- I have 4 VIP Tickets to the de Young Museum for the Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne and Beyond Exhibit. Materpieces from the Musee D’Orsay. $70,00 each; $130.00 pair; $240.00 all four.