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Amazing exhibitions to see in 2023

BY Susan Gray

16th Jan 2023 Art & Theatre

Amazing exhibitions to see in 2023

Looking for your next culture fix? Susan Gray explores the must-see exhibitions that need to be on your radar for the coming year

Lucie Rie: The Adventure of Pottery, Kettles Yard, Cambridge

4 March – 25 June 2023

Lucie Rie, Coffee set, c.1960, stoneware. Private Collection. Photograph: David Gerrans.

Lucie Rie, Coffee set, c.1960, stoneware. Private Collection. Photograph: David Gerrans.

Showcasing potter Lucie Rie’s ground-breaking practice across six decades. The potter was a key figure in British post war art, having emigrated in 1938 from Vienna. Her technical innovations permanently extended the language of studio pottery.

Her achievements range from functional tableware to elegant bowls and vases decorated with sgraffito (scratches to reveal contrasting colour) lines and expressive glazes. Rie’s early pots from the 1920s and 1930s underline the modernist tenets of clarity and innovation.                                                 

Mirror Mirror: Reflections on Design at Chatsworth, Chatsworth, Derbyshire

18 March – 1 October 2023

Wendell Castle [American, 1932-2018] A New Seeing, 2015

Wendell Castle, A New Seeing, 2015 © Friedman Benda and Wendell Castle Inc

An international array of 16 artists including Britons Faye Toogood, Max Lamb and Ndidi Ekubia transform Chatsworth’s interior and outside spaces, including the Vestibule, Sculpture Gallery and Chapel Corridor with innovative light installations, furniture, ceramics and sculpture.

"An international array of 16 artists transform Chatsworth’s interior and outside spaces"

Stone, wood and silver reflect materials already evident in the stately home’s sumptuous rooms, and the exhibition continues the Cavendish family’s centuries long tradition of commissioning contemporary artists at their Derbyshire home.

Soutine-Kossoff, Hastings Contemporary, East Sussex

1 April – 24 September 2023 

Leon Kossoff Children's Swimming Pool Autumn Afternoon

Leon Kossoff, Children's Swimming Pool, Autumn Afternoon, 1971 ©Tate

The first show to explore the relationship between Leon Kossoff, whose impasto (thickly applied paint) landscapes of post-war London are well known, and Paris trained artist Chaim Soutine. Kossoff discovered Soutine’s work in the 1950s and was greatly influenced by it.

The two artists shared an Eastern European Jewish heritage, and both created transcendent works from the stuff of everyday life. Contains over 40 significant loans from collections in the UK and USA and beyond.

Luxury and power: Persia to Greece, British Museum

4 May – 13 August 2023

Gilded Silver Plate

Gilded Silver Plate © The Trustees of the British Museum

Examining the political power of luxury goods in the Middle East and southeast Europe between 550-30 BC. This was a period when the Persian empire clashed with the cities and kingdoms of Greece before conquest by Alexander the Great.

Loans to the exhibition include the Panagyurishte Treasure from Bulgaria. Accidentally discovered by three brothers in 1949, the nine intricately decorated gold vessels show both the exquisite metalwork of the period, and the geographical spread of Greek and Persian cultural influence.

Audubon’s Birds of America, Compton Verney

1 July – 1 October 2023

Print depicting a Baltimore oriole from Birds of America, by John James Audubon. Image © National Museums Scotland

Print depicting a Baltimore oriole from Birds of America, by John James Audubon. Image © National Museums Scotland

On tour from the National Museums of Scotland, Audubon’s Birds of America examines the artistry and legacy of one of the world’s rarest, most coveted and largest books. 

"Compton Verney’s grounds are a wildlife haven, so make the perfect setting for the show"

Published as a series between 1827 and 1838, and nearly 1 metre high, Birds of America by John James Audubon achieved international renown due to its epic scale and the book’s spectacular, large-scale ornithological illustrations. Compton Verney’s grounds are a wildlife haven, so make the perfect setting for the show.

David Hockney: Love Life, Charleston, East Sussex

September 2023 – March 2024 

The Charleston Trust © James Ratchford

The Charleston Trust © James Ratchford

Displaying a rich collection of rarely seen drawings from the late 1960s and 1970s by one of Britain’s most popular and recognisable artists. In 2017, prior to the opening of a retrospective exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, David Hockney (born 1937) painted the words "Love Life" on the final wall of the show.

Explaining his actions, he said: “I love my work. And I think the work has love, actually…I love life. I write it at the end of letters—‘Love life, David Hockney.'” The artist regularly appeals for people to enjoy the simple beauty of the world around them

Frans Hals, National Gallery 

30 September 2023 – 21 January 2024

Frans Hals The Laughing Cavalier, 1624 Oil on canvas, 83 x 67 cm © Trustees of the Wallace Collection, London

Frans Hals, The Laughing Cavalier, 1624, Oil on canvas, 83 x 67 cm © Trustees of the Wallace Collection, London    

Celebrated for his portrait of The Laughing Cavalier, Frans Hals is one of the greatest painters in Western art. This exhibition is the first major retrospective of Hals in more than thirty years. For people under the age of 40 this will be the first comprehensive overview of one of the greatest portrait painters of all time.

Some 50 of Hals’s finest works will be brought together, including the exceptional, first-ever loan of his most famous picture, The Laughing Cavalier (1624), from the Wallace Collection. From small works to large group portraits, genre scenes, and marriage portraits reunited for the first time from international collections, visitors will see the very best of his life’s work. 

Impressionists on Paper: Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec, Royal Academy

25 November 2023 — 10 March 2024

Edgar Degas  Dancer Seen from Behind, c. 1873  Essence on prepared pink paper, 28.4 x 32 cm  Collection of David Lachenmann

Edgar Degas, Dancer Seen from Behind, c. 1873. Essence on prepared pink paper, 28.4 x 32 cm. Collection of David Lachenmann

In the whirl of modernity that was late 19th-century France, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists radically transformed the future direction of art. They lifted the status of works on paper—drawings, pastels, watercolours, temperas, gouaches—from something preparatory left in a studio, to artworks in their own right.

"Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists radically transformed the future direction of art"

This exhibition brings together around 70 works on paper by leading Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists whose innovation challenged traditional attitudes, transform the future direction of art and paved the way for later movements like Abstract Expressionism.

Cover image: Panagyurishte Treasure © National Museum of History, Bulgaria R

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