• The October Octet

    by  • September 21, 2015 • Art, City Breaks, Exhibitions, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, Turin, Vienna, Zurich

    From Stockholm to Zurich, Madrid to Milan, there’s an Extravaganza of Exhibitions across Europe this Autumn.

    As you’ll have no doubt seen from my recent blogs, the arrival of autumn brings about an abundance of artistic offerings as the museums and cultural institutions unveil their fabulous temporary exhibitions, complementing their already impressive permanent collection, brim full of artistic wonder. And the month of October sees a plethora of fantastic exhibitions launch across Europe, from all genres of the artistic spectrum, be it Monet, Miró or Munch, Rodin, Picasso, Balthus or Gauguin. The perfect complement to a city break in Europe, here’s my pick of October offerings…

    Stockholm: Rodin (1st October to 10th January, 2016)
    In collaboration with the Musée Rodin in Paris and the Ateneum Art Museum in Helsinki, Stockholm’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the Konstakademien, opens October with a fabulous exhibition devoted to the French sculptor, Rodin. Featuring over 50 of Rodin’s works, the exhibition includes some of his most famous and iconic sculptures such as The Kiss, The Thinker and Je Suis Belle. And having employed several Scandinavian members of staff throughout his career, the exhibition also pays particular homage to Rodin’s Nordic connections, complemented further by a further 20 works by Scandinavian sculptors who were influenced by Rodin including Carl Milles and Carl Eldh.

    Closed Mondays, the Konstakademien is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am until 5pm, with late-night opening until 8pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Entrance costs 100 SEK, concessions 80 SEK.

    Zurich: Joan Miró – Wall, Frieze, Mural (2nd October to 24th January, 2016)
    In the words of the Kunsthaus itself …

    “The art of Joan Miró (1893 –1983) is informed by an almost literal directness, which invariably foregrounds the materiality of his painting. In his personal accounts, he declared the wall itself to be the starting point of his painting. At first, it was the wall of the farm in Montroig, its imperfection supplying the inspiration for images that captured the beauty of the material with meticulous attention to detail and great poetic imagination. For him a wall was not simply an object to be depicted: it also dictated the physical and tactile qualities of the painterly.

    The move from simple depiction to according the canvas surface a status equal to that of the wall, as well as the careful selection and preparation of supports that we encounter in every phase of his work, can be traced back to this objective. Poured paint and deliberately placed splashes, whitewashed canvases as well as coarse burlap and unconventional materials such as masonite, sandpaper or tar paper are placed in the service of his imagination and play their part in creating Miró’s visual universe.”

    Closed Mondays, the Kunsthaus is otherwise open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am until 6pm (8pm on Wednesday and Thursdays), entrance costs CHF 15 (CHF 10 concessions).



    Turin: Monet – The Collection from the Musée d’Orsay (2nd October to 31st January, 2016)
    Unquestionably the Godfather of Impressionist painting, Turin’s Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art (GAM) is about to play host to over 40 masterpieces on loan from Paris’ prestigious Musée d’Orsay, home to the most significant collection of Monet’s work. The exhibition explores some of the most pivotal moments in Monet’s artistic career and particularly his change in artistic style as he moved away from his early style of painting and concentrated on outdoors scenes.

    Closed Mondays, the Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea is otherwise open from 10am until 7.30pm, with entrance costing 16€ (12€ concessions) to visit both the museum’s permanent collection in addition to the Monet exhibition (12€/9€ exhibition only).

    Madrid: Edvard Munch. Archetypes (6th October to 17th January, 2016)
    The first dedicated Munch exhibition to be held in Madrid since 1984, the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, in conjunction with Oslo’s Munch Museet, provides an overview of Munch’s long and prolific career through a collection of 80 works, half of them on loan from the Norwegian capital. Grouped thematically, the exhibition seeks to explore Munch’s representation of the human figure in different settings, be it externally (the coast, the forest) or inside (the artist’s studio, the patient’s room), as well as through his artistic language – his use of symbolic colour, his experiments with texture and his engraving techniques.

    The museum is open daily (hours vary according to day; the exhibition tends to be open for longer than the permanent collection) and the entrance cost also varies according to the day visited and whether you wish to visit both the permanent collection as well as the exhibition.

    Paris: Picasso. Mania (7th October to 29th February, 2016)
    Paris has hosted many exhibitions devoted to Picasso over the years yet ‘Picasso. Mania’ takes both a chronological and thematic approach to the critical and artistic highlights of Picasso’s extensive career, as well as exploring the myth and indeed mania that surrounded his name. Bringing together works from the Picasso Museum in Paris, the Musée National d’Art Moderne (housed at the Centre Pompidou) and the Picasso family’s own private collection, the exhibition not only presents the great stylistic phases of his oeuvre, but displays them in a style reminiscent of studio arrangements and exhibitions overseen by the great artist himself.

    You’ll see Picasso’s iconic works such as Guernica and Les Demoiselles d’Avignon alongside contemporary creations by the likes of Hockney, and Lichtenstein, in addition to sculptures, film, photos and graphic arts. Taking place at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais the exhibition is open Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays from 10am until 8pm, and from 10am until 10pm Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays (closed Tuesdays). Timed and dated entrance costs 15€ (11€ concessions).

    Rome: Balthus (15th October to 24th January, 2016)
    The Italian capital is preparing to mark the 15th anniversary of the death of Balthasar Klossowski de Role (Balthus), described as “one of the most original and enigmatic masters of the 20th century, whose relationship with the Eternal City was a crucial element in the formation of his art”. Bringing together some 200 paintings, drawings and photographs from across Europe and the United States, this Balthus retrospective offers to opportunity to view some of his best known works, on display at the Scuderie del Quirinale, whilst the Villa Medici concentrates on his works created in and connected to Rome, as well as offering an analysis of his working methods and creative processes.

    The Scuderie del Quirinale is open daily from 10am until 8pm (10.30pm Fridays and Saturdays), with entrance costing 12€ (9.50€ concessions). The Villa Medici is open from Tuesday to Sunday (closed Mondays) from 10am until 7pm, entrance costing 12€ (6€ concessions). A reduction is offered for visitors attending both venues.



    Vienna: The Women of Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka (22nd October to 28th February, 2016)
    Opening at the Lower Belvedere at the end of October, a new exhibition explores how three influential artists – Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka – dealt with the female gender. The exhibition presents an artistic overview of the changing gender roles, the increasing equality amongst men and women and the origins of modern sexual identity at the beginning of the 20th century with four principal themes: the portrait, the couple (in love), the mother and child, and the nude.

    Open daily from 10am until 6pm (9pm on Wednesdays), entrance to the exhibition costs 20€ (17€ concessions), includes access to both the Upper and Lower Belvedere and is valid for 30 days.

    Milan: Gauguin, Stories from Paradise (28th October to 21st February, 2016)
    Coming in late October to Milan’s Museo delle Culture (MUDEC) is an overview of the works of Paul Gauguin, the French Post-Impressionist artist. Displaying around 100 works by Gauguin, brought together from private collections and a dozen museums worldwide, ‘Gauguin, Stories from Paradise’, seeks to investigate the sources of inspiration of the artist’s figurative style, and his unique and original approach to the artistic genre of primitivism. Particular attention is paid to the influences encountered on his many travels, from the art of ancient Egypt and the Peruvian Inca culture to his experiences in Cambodia, Java and Polynesia. And as well as many of his artistic masterpieces, the exhibition is complemented further by Polynesian artefacts and images of the places visited by Gauguin in his extensive travelling history.

    The exhibition is open daily from 9.30am to 7.30pm (Mondays from 2.30pm; Fridays and Saturdays until 10.30pm) and entrance costs 12€ (10€ concessions).


    With a French grandmother, childhood holidays on the continent and a degree in French and Spanish, a love of languages and travel has always been in my blood. Fresh from university with an unfettered enthusiasm to show off my linguistic ability and first-hand knowledge of the world beyond the UK, I entered the travel industry and, 16 years on, I’m still there! With several years spent in the luxury sector planning escorted holidays across Europe for the American market, followed by an even longer tenure designing short breaks with a difference in the must-see cities of Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam, Madrid, Prague, Florence, Brussels, Venice, Salzburg, Milan, Krakow and Berlin (to name but a few), it’s fair to say that Europe is my passion! Today my travels have taken me far beyond the boundaries of Europe with so many destinations still to discover, yet the continent abounds in such a wealth of treasures – historical and architectural, cultural and musical, gastronomic, artistic and linguistic – that its appeal, for me, will be eternal.