By Mario R. Mercado
June 12, 2013

This month and next, art—Old Masters to Impressionists to contemporary—is on the auction block at the major auction houses, including Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams, in New York, London, and beyond. They coincide with art fairs, Frieze New York, Art Basel in Switzerland (June 13-16), and the granddaddy of all international art exhibitions, the Venice Biennale (June 1-November 24)). T+L spoke with Karen Stone Talwar, founder of Adventures in Art, about this high season for art and what it means for the traveler.

Q: What is the allure of the art sales?
A: First, admission to the previews at the auction houses is free, and second, although the viewings take place during five to eight days, they often offer the only opportunity to see works that have been in private collections and likely little exhibited. Depending on the purchaser they may never be lent for public exhibition. So this could be your once-in-a-lifetime chance to see that rare Picasso, just as it is for the collectors, gallery owners, and museum directors.

Q: What was special about Frieze New York?
A: The second edition of Frieze New York, which just wrapped up on Randall’s Island, takes place in a spacious, light-filled tent, and is a wonderful place to appreciate art. Also, Frieze is a showcase for emerging artists and smaller galleries as well as the work of established artists represented by leading, international galleries. Plus, there are lectures and panel discussions, art installations on the grounds, a bookstore, great food, and it is pleasure to take the ferry up the East River.

Q: What's next?
A: Art Basel, June 13-16, is the original among the three Art Basel fairs, and is, of course, in Switzerland. These fairs are exciting, fascinating, but can be tiring. This year, I am leading a trip on the River Cloud II, a beautiful river cruise ship, which goes along the Rhine, beginning June 8 in Cologne, Germany and arrives in Basel on June 15, with stops along the way to see private collections and the select museums. Because Basel is a small city and the art world converges upon it, hotel rooms can be difficult to come by. The advantage of this cruise is that your accommodations are taken care of.

Q: And day trips from New York City?
A: Dia: Beacon, devoted to art from the 1960’s to the present is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Located along the banks of the Hudson River, and only 80 minutes by train from Grand Central, Dia, with works by Warhol and Jenny Holzer, makes a wonderful summertime excursion.

Mario R. Mercado is arts editor at Travel + Leisure.