Opening and Closing in April

Opening and Closing in April

It might be the anniversary year of the French Impressionists, but Tate Modern on London’s South Bank has a different agenda, starting on April 25; they’re taking a step on in time to explore the world of the avant-garde German Expressionists: Kandinsky, Münter and the Blue Rider. The Tate has brought together more than 130 works from the likes of Wassily Kandinsky, Marianne von Werefkin, Franz Marc and Gabriele Münter, drawing to a large extent on the holdings of the Lenbachhaus in Munich. The show is on until October 20. 
At the National Gallery, a free display from April 18 offers the chance to see The Last Caravaggio. The dramatically lit Martyrdom of St Ursula was painted in Naples in 1610, the year Caravaggio died in mysterious circumstances. Coming to London for the first time in 20 years, it’ll be on show until July 21. 
The Wallace Collection explores the life and times of Ranjit Singh (1780-1839), the first Maharaja of the Sikh Empire in Punjab, in an exhibition assembling art, jewellery, weapons and historic objects from his court. His reign saw a flourishing of trade and the arts. Ranjit Singh: Sikh, Warrior, King runs from April 10 to October 20. 
Mary Beale (1633-1699) was one of Britain’s first professional women artists, and we’ve seen pictures by her recently in a couple of surveys of female painters through history, including in the Maestras show at the Arp Museum in western Germany. Opening on April 25 at the commercial Philip Mould Gallery in central London is an exhibition featuring 25 of her works from public and private collections. “Fruit of Friendship”: Portraits by Mary Beale will run until July 19; there’s no admission charge. 
Augustus John long eclipsed his sister Gwen, having been hailed by Virginia Woolf at an early age as the saviour of British painting. Gwen John has been in the spotlight these past 12 months; now her brother gets a look-in at the commercial Piano Nobile gallery in west London with Augustus John & the First Crisis of Brilliance, featuring more than 30 works from the beginning of his career. There will also be pictures by his contemporaries including Gwen and William Orpen. On from April 26 to July 13, with no admission charge.
One exceptionally hot autumn day a few years ago, we watched the tide go out at Crosby Beach north of Liverpool, slowly and dramatically exposing the 100 life-size cast-iron sculptures in Antony Gormley’s installation Another Place. From April 21, 100 more of his casts will adorn the surroundings of Houghton Hall in Norfolk, in Antony Gormley’s Time Horizon. Some are partially buried, some are on level ground, and some raised on plinths to create a single plane across the landscape. It’s the first time this work has been shown in the UK, and it’ll be there in all weathers until October 31. 
The most recent Caspar David Friedrich exhibition to mark the 250th anniversary of the German Romantic’s birth, at the Kunsthalle in Hamburg, sold out over the winter. From April 19 to August 4, the roadshow moves to the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin, featuring roughly 60 paintings and 50 drawings. Caspar David Friedrich: Infinite Landscapes won’t be more of the same; Woman at the Window, for example, wasn’t exhibited in Hamburg. Next stops for the Friedrich juggernaut: Dresden in late August and then the Met in New York next February.  
Just outside Berlin, the Museum Barberini in Potsdam offers a show aimed at placing Amedeo Modigliani within the broader context of European art at the start of the 20th century, rather than simply concentrating on his activities in Paris. Modigliani: Modern Gazes will have around 100 works, with Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Jeanne Mammen and Paula Modersohn-Becker among the other artists on display. April 27 to August 18. 
It’s Olympic year in Paris, and starting on April 4, you can see how artists around the time of the two previous Paris games took on the subjects of rowing, cycling, boxing and more. Players include Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Thomas Eakins and Robert Delaunay. En Jeu! Artists & Sport (1870-1930) is on at the Musée Marmottan Monet until September 1. 
Like organised sport, the department store was a creation of the second half of the 19th century, and from April 10 Paris’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs examines the birth of stores such as Printemps, Galeries Lafayette and La Samaritaine and their development from 1852 to 1925, looking at design, fashion, advertising and more. La naissance des grands magasins is on until October 13, after which a second exhibition at the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine will take the story up to the present day. 
And if you’re tempted by that, you might also like this: The summer show at the Musée des beaux arts in Caen looks at how artists portrayed the acts of selling and shopping over the period from 1860 to 1914. Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard and Raoul Dufy are among the big names in this exhibition, part of the Normandie Impressionniste festival. Le Spectacle de la marchandise may not be open all hours, but it is on from April 6 to September 8. 

Last chance to see….

April 14 is the final day to marvel at the astonishing portraiture of Hans Holbein at the Tudor Court at what’s now the King’s Gallery in London. Holbein was the incomparably skilled artist who created the images of Henry VIII’s reign that have stayed with us for nearly five centuries. 

And April 14 is also the last opportunity to experience Gwen John: Art and Life in London and Paris at the Holburne Museum in Bath. We saw the initial version of this intimate show at Pallant House in Chichester last year.


Marianne von Werefkin (1860-1938), Self-Portrait I, c. 1910, Lenbachhaus, Munich
Mary Beale (1633-1699), Portrait of Anne Sotheby (née Robinson) (1657-1727), 1677, Philip Mould & Company
Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), Woman at the Window, 1822, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie. Photo: Jörg P. Anders
Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/98-1543), Sir Thomas More, 1527, Royal Collection Trust/© His Majesty King Charles III 2023

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