I’m a bit slow off the mark with this news – amazed it didn’t come up in my feeds – but a big thanks to listener Ken Richards who posted the new to our comments section:

Napoleon heads for Melbourne – 2012
Raymond Gill – The Age
September 23, 2010 – 3:00AM

THE competition among state governments to stage ”exclusive” blockbusters during the winter months is hotting up.

The Victorian Arts Minister Peter Batchelor has claimed the NSW and Queensland governments have ”plagiarised’ the success of the annual Winter Masterpiece series at the National Gallery of Victoria so yesterday he announced not one but two blockbusters heading for Melbourne.

”Mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery,” Mr Batchelor said at the NGV yesterday as he announced the NGV will present in 2012 Napoleon: Revolution to Empire, which presents French art, design, furniture, court costumes, and armour from the 1770s to the 1820s, with most of the 200 works borrowed from the Fondation Napoleon in Paris.

The 2011 Melbourne Winter Masterpiece Vienna: Art and Design, featuring major works by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele from the Belvedere Palace and Wien Museum in Vienna, was first reported by The Age in June.

The show of 240 works celebrates Vienna as a centre of art and design at the turn of last century and its inclusion of a dozen glittering Klimts includes four of his most famous female portraits, including one of his lover, Emilie Floge.

Both shows are exclusive to Melbourne and funded by the Victorian Major Events Company, which is charged with finding events that will bring tourists to Melbourne.

Mr Batchelor said the twin announcement was not part of a defensive strategy to shore up the city’s position as a magnet for cultural tourism. ”We are leading the way anyway,” Mr Batchelor said.

”This forward notice of themes allows other artistic bodies and restaurants for example to plan complementary events,” he said. Since the Winter Masterpiece Series began in 2004, the shows have attracted a total of 2.4 million people adding an estimated $138 to the state economy, he said.

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