Europe’s great museums have more top-grade exhibitions than ever this season.
By Peter Goddard
Amsterdam leads the way with the reopening of the Rijksmuseum (www.rijksmuseum.nl/en) after a C$500 million, 10-year-long spruce up. Open 365 days a year, its biggest hit remains Rembrandt’s incomparable The Night Watch (above), the gem of the Dutch national art collection, along with Vermeer and Frans Hals.
The refurbed Van Gogh Museum (www.vangoghmuseum.nl), a short walk away across the Museumplein quarter, has Van Gogh at Work, its 40th anniversary exhibition until Jan. 12, 2014. (Don’t miss the squeezed-dry paint tubes.) Close by is the Stedelijk (www.stedelijk.nl/en) with top-notch contemporary works housed in the museum’s controversially new bathtub-shaped exterior. Gauguin, Bonnard, Denis: A Russian Taste for French Art is at Hermitage Amsterdam (www.hermitage.nl/en) from Sept. 14 to Feb. 28, 2014.
Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum (www.khm.at/en) offers a 70-year-spanning retrospective of Lucian Freud from Oct. 8 to Jan. 8, 2014, organized by the prominent British portraitist shortly before his death in 2011.
Canadians have reason to visit Italy’s 55th Venice Biennale (www.labiennale.org/en/art) where Music for Silence, with new work by Toronto sculptress Shary Boyle, appears until Nov. 24 in the Canadian Pavilion.
Finally, for travellers itching to be art buyers, the best – and perhaps priciest – collections of contemporary work may be found at the U.S.-based Gagosian Galleries, with locations in London, LeBourget outside Paris and Rome. Check with the gallery to find out which artists are being shown, as lineups change. As for the calibre represented, LeBourget recently exhibited Alexander Calder, the late American sculptor renowned for his mobiles. www.gagosian.com.