With close to 200 works, including figures and still lifes, “Claude Monet (1840–1926),” at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais (Sept. 22–Jan. 24; monet2010.com), offers a complete overview, from the artist’s travels along the Normandy and Mediterranean coasts to the late masterpieces he created at his garden in Giverny.
Benefiting from a large collection of vintage prints, “André Kertész,” at the Jeu de Paume (Sept. 28–Feb. 6), traces the artist’s 70-year career, which was divided among three cities (Budapest, Paris, and New York) and forged a unique path in photojournalism.
Venetian view painting reached its height in the mid 18th century, when travelers fueled a market for Canaletto and his contemporaries. “Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals,” at the National Gallery (Oct. 13– Jan. 16), is the first show in a generation to examine the range of their works.
New York City
In “The World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Sept. 28–Jan. 2), the China that greeted Marco Polo is brought to life with rare Chinese loans of paintings, sculpture, and decorative objects, evoking the legendary city of Dadu (present-day Beijing), capital of the Great Khan Khubilai, the emperor who unified the country.
“Abstract Expressionist New York,” at the Museum of Modern Art (Oct. 3–April 25), reevaluates the movement that put the city at the art world’s center with this survey from its collection of Abstract Expressionist art in all media, including sculpture and books.
Stones from the Holy Land and fragments of the skull of Saint Eustace go on display in “Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe,” at the Cleveland Museum of Art (Oct. 17– Jan. 17; clevelandart.org). Also, 17 newly renovated galleries showcase the museum’s renowned antiquities collection.
Gwangju, South Korea
The eighth Gwangju Biennale (Sept. 3–Nov. 7; 10000lives.org) explores our obsession with image, from portraiture to YouTube, in works by 100 artists from 28 countries.
Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais
After more than a decade of renovations, the main gallery under the soaring glass roof of the Grand Palais is a favorite show venue for fashion houses like Dior and Chanel and exhibits like “Egypt’s Sunken Treasures.” As impressive as this turn-of-the-last-century structure is from the outside, the view from inside the nave of the main gallery is nothing short of inspirational. Built for the 1900 World’s Fair, the delicate 200-foot-high nave is surrounded by vaults that seem impossibly high; it’s all constructed of tens of thousands of glass panes suspended by an intricate ironwork frame that opens to the sky. The Grand Palais is also one of the most recent major monuments to up its hip factor with the opening of Mini Palais (www.minipalais.com), a restaurant and lounge that opens onto a heated, columned terrace overlooking the Pont Alexandre III. One of its outdoor settees makes a memorable spot for a drink.
Museum of Modern Art, New York
The hullabaloo over MoMA's $600 million makeover in 2005 (and $20 admission fee) has overshadowed how impressive its collection truly is. This smartly reimagined space offers more room for exhibitions, as well as unexpected internal vistas between floors that are better able to showcase large contemporary installations. See Warhol's Gold Marilyn, Picasso's mold-breaking Demoiselles d'Avignon, a cluster of Brancusi sculptures, plus photographs and pencil drawings by the modern master—as well as Claes Oldenburg's surprisingly creepy Giant Soft Fan, which induces the same kind of sensory schizophrenia as Meret Oppenheim's fur-covered cup. Don't neglect the outdoor treasures in the Sculpture Garden, an eclectic mix that includes works by Scott Burton, Giacometti, and even an original Guimard-designed Paris metro entrance sign.
Admission: $20 adults, $16 seniors, free for children 16 and under. Closed Tues.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
One of the world's great museums, this Gothic Revival labyrinth tries to be all things to all art lovers—and with its expansion over the past two decades it often succeeds. The museum's breadth makes it dauntingly huge; grab a map and decide to focus on one wing at a time.
National Gallery, London
The National Gallery is London’s museum dedicated to Western European paintings. Located in Trafalgar Square, the museum opened in 1838 and now houses a collection of over 2,300 works of art from the 13th through the 19th centuries. Artists on display include Botticelli, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Monet. The collection features some of the world’s most influential works of art, including Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Rembrandt’s Self Portrait at the Age of 34 and The Arnolfini Portrait by van Eyck. The National Gallery offers audio tours and features three dining outlets and three gift shops.
Jeu de Paume
Tucked in a corner of the Tuileries Gardens near the Champs Élysées is this building reminiscent of a Greek temple, with large columns on its stone façade. Inside, is a rotating collection of photography, film, and video from the 19th to 21st centuries. With sponsors including The Ministry of Culture and Communication and Neuflize Vie, the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume was named for a tennis-style sport that was played on the site in the time of Napoleon III. Today it contains changing exhibits devoted to imagery and their impact on both the individual and the world.