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5 Amazing art exhibitions around Europe this year

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5 Amazing art exhibitions around Europe this year
Whether planning a city break or just lucky enough to be around, there is a smorgasbord of must-see art exhibitions to catch across the UK and Europe during 2024

Frank Auerbach: The Charcoal Heads at The Courtauld, London, February 9–May 27

Frank Auerbach (b.1931), Head of Julia II, 1960, charcoal and chalk on paper. Private collection © the artist, courtesy of Frankie Rossi Art Projects, London
The Courtauld will be presenting, for the first time together, 17 of Frank Auerbach’s large-scale, charcoal portraits of heads produced during his early career in the 1950s and 1960s. Born in 1931 Frank Auerbach was a leading figure of the School of London and great friends with Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. Bacon’s Double Portrait of Lucian Freud and Frank Auerbach, 1964, is a testament to the deep friendship between the artists.
"The Courtauld will be presenting, for the first time together, 17 of Frank Auerbach’s large-scale, charcoal portraits of heads"
Auerbach arrived in Britain from Germany on the Kindertransport shortly before the outbreak of the second world war, never again to see his parents who died at Auschwitz. The scars of this are said to be reflected by slashes of red chalk in his portraits. His subjects included Stella West, with whom he had an intense relationship, the figurative painter Leon Kossoff (Auerbach’s Head of Leon Kossoff, 1954, sold for £2,658,500 at Christie’s in 2016),  his older cousin Gerda Boehm (Head of Gerda Boehm, 1961) and Julia Wolstenholme (Head of Julia II, 1960) whom he married in 1958.

Roy Lichtenstein: A Centennial Exhibition in Vienna, March 8–July 14

Vienna’s Albertina is celebrating Roy Lichenstein’s (1923–1927) canon of Pop Art with a major retrospective a hundred years after his birth, featuring those iconic comic strip pictures which Lichenstein parodied so brilliantly. Lichenstein became a pioneering Pop Art printmaker and painter who used the Ben-Day dot, the pointillist printing technique favoured by newspapers.
Drowning Girl, 1963, inspired by Picasso, repurposed the image of a drowning heroine from the splash page of a comic illustrated by Tony Abruzzo. Other memorable paintings include: Look Mickey, 1961; Whaam!, 1963; Woman in a Bath, 1963 and Thinking of Him, 1963.

Ingres and Delacroix: Artists Objects in Paris, March 20–June 10

Eugène Delacroix, Women of Algiers in their Apartment, 1834. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
This exhibition of rivals Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863) and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780–1867) launches the reopening of one of Paris’ lesser-known museums, the Eugène-Delacroix Museum (formerly Delacroix’s apartment).
Ingres and Delacroix clashed over a battle between Neoclassicism and Romanticism. Their portraits and their personal collection of artefacts will be shown as part of the exhibition which continues at the Ingres Bourdelle Museum in Montauban from July 12 to November 10, 2024.
"Ingres and Delacroix clashed over a battle between Neoclassicism and Romanticism"
Ingres, the guardian of Neoclassicism, was inspired by classical antiquity (ancient Greece and Rome). He painted The Ambassadors of Agamemnon in the tent of Achilles, 1801, The Vow of Louis XIII, 1824, and The Turkish Bath (Le Bain turc), modified in 1862, which formed the last of his Orientalist paintings.
Conversely, Delacroix the Romantic drew inspiration from Ovid, Shakespeare and Lord Byron, and the great masters of art such as Rubens, Caravaggio and John Constable. The French poet Baudelaire said Delacroix was “passionately in love with passion”. His oeuvre includes Self-Portrait as Hamlet, 1821, The Lion Hunt, mid-1860s, and Women of Algiers in their Apartment (French: Femmes d'Alger dans leur appartement), 1834.

Edvard Munch: Horizons in Oslo from April 13

Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
The Munch Museum is devoting a floor to an exhibition which aims to explore “the artistic currents” that shaped Munch’s career (1863–1944). Munch’s art will be hung alongside his contemporaries: Emil Nolde, Oscar Kokoschka, Gabriele Munter and several others.
Munch was consumed by suffering and used his paintings to express this inner turmoil (The Sick Child, 1885–86; The Scream, 1893). Both his mother and sister died of TB and towards the end of his life he lived under German occupation. Munch has become the paragon of Expressionist angst and this promises to be an enlightening exhibition both artistically and historically.

Willem de Kooning and Italy, showcasing in Venice, April 17–September 15

Willem de Kooning, Untitled (Rome), 1959, ink on paper. The Renee & Chaim Gross Foundation, New York © 2024 The Willem de Kooning Foundation, SIAE
Willem De Kooning (1904–1997) came from the school of Abstract Expressionism alongside Jackson PollockMark Rothko and Franz Klein. These painters were pivotal in cementing New York as the centre of modern art after the Second World War. 
"De Kooning fused abstraction, figuration, and landscapes and loved to paint the human form in abstract"
De Kooning’s paintings are described as gestural, using broad, sweeping brush strokes. He fused abstraction, figuration, and landscapes and loved to paint the human form, particularly women, in abstract. His famous works include Seated Woman, 1940, Woman III, 1951–53, and Woman as Landscape, 1954–55, as well as many untitled works. 
To coincide with the 2024 Venice Biennale, the Galleria dell’Accademia is staging an exhibition which draws on two visits De Kooning made to Italy, first in 1959 and then ten years later in 1969. During the first trip to Rome, De Kooning, already a successful artist, met his compatriot, the artist Cy Twombly. Inspired, he developed a more experimental style using torn paper and black enamel. This exhibition also includes a rare opportunity to experience De Kooning’s versatility as a sculptor. On his second trip, De Kooning began working in clay and produced 13 sculptures which he had cast in bronze.
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