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Europe's Top 13 Art Exhibitions This Fall

Europe's Top 13 Art Exhibitions This Fall

Picture of Julie Daunt
Updated: 12 December 2015
With 2015 drawing to a close, art-lovers are getting ready to visit some of the most highly anticipated art shows this year in Europe. Retrospectives of prolific artists, provocative group shows of international artworks, and exhibitions of newly commissioned and never-before-seen creations are all on the agenda. From Ireland to Spain to Sweden, here are the top 13 art exhibitions in Europe you have to visit this fall.

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin | The Botticelli Renaissance

24 September – 24 January

Shedding new light on the work of the early Italian Renaissance painter is the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin exhibition, The Botticelli Renaissance. Quickly forgotten after his death, it wasn’t until the nineteenth century when his work was revitalised by the Pre-Raphaelites. Since then, Sandro Botticelli’s compositions and motifs have continued to influence modern and contemporary artists. This exhibition juxtaposes 50 of Botticelli’s works with nearly 100 works of art, from other paintings, to photographs, to video and fashion. New interpretations of Botticelli’s work and connections between the past and present are brought to the fore in this exhibition.

Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin | El Lizzitsky: The Artist and the State

30 July – 18 October

Bringing the revolutionary art of El Lizzitsky to Ireland for the first time is the Irish Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition focuses on the artist’s relationships with the state and politics, as well as the broader implications his art had on other radical artists and creative communities. Much of the work on display comes from the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. The show also draws parallels between Lizzitsky’s work and that of Irish nationalists Alice Milligan and Maud Gonne, who all envisaged their works as catalysts for social and political change. Furthermore, works on display by contemporary artists Rossella Biscotti, Núria Güell, Sarah Pierce and Hito Steyerl revive Lizzitsky’s values for today’s audiences.

The National Gallery, London | Goya: The Portraits

7 October – 10 January

Hailed as one of the most ground-breaking and skillful portrait artists in art history, the National Gallery in London presents Goya: The Portraits. Masterful in their execution, Goya’s portraits not only displayed technical virtuosity, but also managed to capture the true essence of the sitter. His portraits feature a wide variety of patrons and friends, from aristocrats to members of the court to famous actors. This exhibition traces the artist’s development in portraiture, from his first commission to his later personal works. Nearly 70 of the artist’s works are on display, including paintings, drawings and miniatures, many of which have never been exhibited in London before.

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid | Edvard Munch: Archetypes

6 October – 17 January

The first exhibition of the artist’s work in Spain since 1984, Edvard Munch: Archetypes opens in October at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Exhibiting 80 works by the Norwegian artist, this show analyses a key aspect to Munch’s oeuvre: the human figure. His depiction of the human figure is foregrounded in this exhibition, but also his use of flat and three-dimensional forms, his expressive and symbolic use of colour, and his fantastical settings. This show promises to give viewers a new perspective on Munch and why his work was an important development in Scandinavian and European art history.

Royal Academy of Arts, London | Ai Weiwei

19 September – 13 December

One of the most anticipated art exhibitions of 2015, September sees the innovative and provocative work of Ai Weiwei taking over the main galleries of the Royal Academy of Arts in London. One of the most influential artists of our time, this is the first large show of Ai Weiwei’s work in the United Kingdom. Showcasing over two decades of work, the exhibition charts Weiwei’s extraordinary career, from when he returned to China in 1993 from the US, right to the present day. The show was created in collaboration with the artist, and will include never-before-seen artworks that have been specially commissioned for the exhibition. Large-scale installations and multimedia creations are what visitors can expect to see at this ground-breaking show.

Moderna Museet, Stockholm | Francesca Woodman: On Being an Angel

5 September – 6 December

Known for her black and white photographs, the American photographer Francesca Woodman produced an impressive and poignant body of work during her short lifetime. Entitled Francesca Woodman: On Being an Angel, this exhibition at the Moderna Museet explores Woodman’s oeurve in a new way, delving into each of her artistic periods, from her early teenage works, to her student years in Providence, Italy, to her later photographs while in New York. This show will present over 100 photographs by the artist alongside other photographs from the museum’s own collection, in order to contextualise Woodman’s works. Gender, sexuality and the body are key themes that are explored in this exhibition.

Le Centre Pompidou, Paris | Wifredo Lam

30 September – 15 February

The life and works of Cuban painter Wifredo Lam will be investigated though and in-depth retrospective at Le Centre Pompidou in Paris this autumn. The exhibition will focus mainly on the artist’s works from the 1930s through to the 1970s, and will aim to reposition the artist within the discourse of international art history. His contributions and innovations in both America and Europe are key aspects of this exhibition. This large scale show will feature more than 400 works of art, from paintings to drawings to photographs, with many works on loan from other cultural institutions, such as MoMA in New York. Visitors will be guided through the exhibition by following periods of his work, focusing on his artistic developments, and meetings with influential people. After Le Centre Pompidou, the show will travel to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, and then to the Tate Modern.

Tate Modern, London | The EY Exhibition: The World Goes Pop

17 September – 24 January

Probing the global phenomenon that was Pop Art is The EY Exhibition: The World Goes Pop at the Tate Modern. Breaking new ground, this exhibition provides a different take on the art movement, by focusing on the genre’s wider social and cultural implications. Works from all corners of the globe are on display, from Latin America to Asia to the Middle East. The international responses to Pop Art are at the forefront of this captivating show. Furthermore, themes of politics, society and revolution are also analysed through the vibrant and affective multimedia works. Painted canvases, car bonnets and even pinball machines form the collection of works to be observed at this show. Focusing on the language of Pop as a form of protest rather than commercial culture, this exhibition reveals how the movement was more revolutionary than previously believed.

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek | Lucian Freud – A Closer Look

3 September – 29 November

The intimate and unique works of British artist Lucian Freud are presented in this retrospective exhibition at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. With the title Lucian Freud – A Closer Look, this show offers a rare chance to experience the artist’s intriguing works on paper. Part of the museum’s Louisiana on Paper series, the exhibition displays 52 graphical artworks, focusing on his works post-1982. Although more famous for his jarring paintings of people, these more intimate drawings reveal Freud’s obsession with the body and his intense study of the human form. A must visit for any lover of his work.

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh | Roy Lichtenstein

13th March − 10th January

Although this exhibition opened earlier in the year, the special Roy Lichtenstein show at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is well worth a visit. Spanning three rooms, this exhibition dedicated to the American artist brings together new groups of his work. The works on display reveal how the artist was one of the most influential and radical artists of the previous century, particularly for his techniques and use of materials. Lovers of the museum are already familiar with Lichtenstein’s work, as his work In the Car (1963) has been part of the gallery’s collection since 1980. However, this exhibition looks at the artist’s works from four major series: Reflections, Modern Art, Water Lilies and Compositions. In doing so, the exhibition aims to give a fresh look at the artist’s innovative methods and style, which are arguably ahead of their time.

You Told Me To Wash And Clean My Ears by Amanda Coogan | Courtesy of RHA
You Told Me To Wash And Clean My Ears by Amanda Coogan | Courtesy of RHA

RHA Gallery, Dublin | Amanda Coogan

4 September – 18 October

A key figure in the realm of contemporary performance art, and a pupil of the notorious Marina Abramović, Amanda Coogan brings a new exhibition of work to the RHA Gallery in Dublin. Entitled I’ll Sing You Song From Around The Town, this exhibition includes both sculptural and performative works by the artist. The performative element of the exhibition will take place over six weeks, with Coogan performing the first piece in week one. Week two will see the artist beginning the second performance, while a collaborator performs the first piece. Week six will see a culmination of all six performances running at the same time. This exhibition develops Coogan’s recent practice of durational performances, and pushes the boundaries of performance art in Ireland.

Palazzo Strozzi, Florence | Divine Beauty from Van Gogh to Chagall and Fontana

24 September – 24 January

Featuring more than 100 works of art by a host of Italian and international artists is the latest exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. Entitled Divine Beauty from Van Gogh to Chagall and Fontana, this art show aims to investigate the didactic relationship between religion and art, particularly from the 19th and 20th centuries. Works by home-grown artists such as Gaetano Previati, Gino Severini and Emilio Vedova are displayed alongside international names such as Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch and Henri Matisse. Divine Beauty presents visitors which a rich panorama of artworks, each with different takes and interpretations of modernity and religion. Famous works of art taking new meanings and contexts at this exhibition.

Barbican, London | The World of Charles and Ray Eames

21 October – 14 February

A prolific duo in the design world, American couple Charles and Ray Eames are among the most important designers of our generation. This dedicated show examines their ground-breaking world, in particular their famous office. Pioneers of innovative future and cutting-edge architecture, Charles and Ray Eames embraced technology and science, as revealed in many of the works on display in this exhibition. At the heart of their creations were philosophical ideals, with this thread running throughout the show also. Focusing on objects and projects, the Barbican showcases the very best of their productions, from films, to photographs, to furniture and other artefacts. In doing so, The World of Charles and Ray Eames and the office are brought back to life to be enjoyed by audiences once more.

By Julie Daunt

Julie Daunt is a 24-year-old art historian and writer from Cork in Ireland. She has an M.A. in modern and contemporary art history, and is currently studying an MSc in computer science interactive media. When she is not dying her hair blue or pink, Julie loves experiencing new cities, soaking up their art, food and culture. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.