“Matisse – Invitation to the Voyage,” an exhibition coming to Basel, Switzerland, in September, will be the first Henri Matisse retrospective in Switzerland and the German-speaking world in almost 20 years.

“Matisse – Invitation to the Voyage,” an exhibition coming to Basel, Switzerland, in September, will be the first Henri Matisse retrospective in Switzerland and the German-speaking world in almost 20 years. (The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection)

High upon the inexhaustible list of reasons to visit one of Europe’s great cities is to check out its wonderful museums. When what’s on show isn’t part of a permanent collection, it’s important to act fast or miss it. Here’s a list of just some of the year’s most anticipated temporary exhibitions across Europe, in chronological order:

Amsterdam, Netherlands: The Rijksmuseum has dedicated a show to a major figure of the Dutch Golden Age with its exhibition “Frans Hals,” on now through June 9. The exhibition centers on the artist’s easygoing and animated style that earned him a reputation as a forerunner of impressionism. In addition to Hals’ most famous work, “The Laughing Cavalier,” some 50 of the artist’s works depicting children, lovers, market salespeople and the happily inebriated await inspection. Online:

Ostend, Brussels and Antwerp, Belgium: The 75-year anniversary of the death of the Flemish artist James Ensor will be marked by a number of exhibitions, activities and events. In Ostend, the seaside city in which Ensor was born and spent most of his life, the Mu.ZEE Oostende hosts an exhibition of its native son’s still life paintings through April 14. In Brussels’ Bozar Centre for Fine Arts, “James Ensor: Maestro” shines a light on not only his art but his writings and musical composition with an anthology consisting of some 100 works; the show runs Feb. 29-June 23. In Antwerp’s KMSKA, “Ensor’s wildest dreams. Beyond Impressionism,” Ensor’s works will be displayed alongside his contemporaries, sources of inspiration and successors Sept. 28-Jan. 19, 2025. Online:

Paris, France: The Musée d’Orsay takes visitors on a journey through time with its exhibition “Paris 1874: Inventing Impressionism,” running March 26-July 14. The collection of works on display is a nod to an 1874 privately organized exhibition featuring works by Renoir, Monet, Pissarro, Cezanne, Degas, Morisot and Sisley and other artists. Although the show was sparsely attended and widely mocked in reviews, today it’s considered a vital part of the birth of the Impressionist movement. The display of some of the paintings and sculptures featured in the officially organized Salon organized that same year seeks to re-create the visual shock caused by the works exhibited by the Impressionists. Online:

London, UK: Tate Modern shines a spotlight onto the groundbreaking work of an early 20th century circle of Munich-based artists through an exhibition titled “Expressionists: Kandinsky, Münter and The Blue Rider,” set to run April 25-Oct. 20. At the start of the 20th century, the work of a circle of friends and close collaborators known as The Blue Rider managed to transform modern art through their experimentation with color, sound and light. This story of their friendship and mutual support as told through art features more than 130 works including paintings, sculptures and photographs. Online:

Basel, Switzerland: The Kunstmuseum Basel will be home to “When We See Us: A Century of Black Figuration in Painting” May 25-Oct. 27. Following its debut in Cape Town, South Africa, the exhibition explores Black self-representation and consciousness from pan-African and pan-diasporic perspectives. The show, whose title is a riff on the 2019 Netflix mini-series about the wrongful conviction of the Central Park Five, features more than 200 works produced by Black artists working globally over the course of the past century and organized around the themes of The Everyday, Joy and Revelry, Repose, Sensuality, Spirituality, and Triumph and Emancipation. Online:

Oslo, Norway: The Munch Museum, a 13-floor space overlooking the city’s waterfront, has announced the May 25 launch of an exhibition titled “Edvard Munch: Horizons.” The show explores the artistic currents that shaped Europe between 1880 and 1950, a timespan that roughly corresponds to the Norwegian artist’s career. Munch’s work will be hung alongside that of artists including Emil Nolde, Oscar Kokoschka, Gabriele Münter, Alexej von Jawlensky, Raoul Dufy and others, bringing his output into the context of European Modernism. Online:

London, UK: The National Gallery will stage “Van Gogh: Poets and Lovers,” a major retrospective devoted to one of Europe’s best-known artists, Vincent Van Gogh, from Sept. 14-Jan. 19, 2025. The exhibition teases out how the Dutch painter was inspired by poets, writers and artists, particularly during the time he spent in the cities of Arles and Saint-Rémy in southern France. Among the more than 50 works to be displayed are “Starry Night Over the Rhône, “The Yellow House,” “Wheat Field with Cypresses” and “Sunflowers.” Online:

Basel, Switzerland: The Fondation Beyeler stages a show around a leading figure in modern art with “Matisse – Invitation to the Voyage,” coming Sept. 22-Jan. 26, 2025. The first Henri Matisse retrospective in Switzerland and the German-speaking world in almost 20 years rounds up some 80 works highlighting the development and diversity of the artist’s oeuvre. The show, whose title makes reference to a poem penned by Charles Baudelaire, is conceived as a journey through Matisse’s work and life, in which travel played an important part. Online:

London, UK: The Royal Academy of Arts explores the relationship between three preeminent artists of the Italian Renaissance in the exhibition titled “Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael. Florence, c. 1504” from Nov. 9-Feb. 16, 2025. The show teases out the rivalry between Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, as well as the influence both figures had on the younger Raphael. Online:

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