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From B like Balthus to S as in Stand, not forgetting though the treasures of the court of Bougogne, portraits during the Renaissance and even rock ‘n’ roll! From the Prado to the Tate, the European Summer programme happily mixes eras and genres.

Kembra Pfahler The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, 2007 © Kristy Leibowitz at Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels ("It's not only rock 'n' roll, baby!")


MARTIGNY (SUISSE) – He is the painter of the modern street – though frozen in an atmosphere of the Italian Renaissance -, cats, Swiss landscapes he was familiar with for a long time, but shameless adolescents as well. A genre that is frankly not very much in fashion and which gives him a nefarious touch, which surely does not displease Jean Clair, the newly elected member of the Académie française and curator of the exhibition with Jean Radrizzani. Together theyhave gathered masterpieces from Paris, New York, London or Bern to celebrate three anniversaries: the 100th of Balthus' birth (on 29 February 1908), the 25th of his «rediscovery» (the exhibition in 1983 at the Pompidou Center) and the 30th of the Gianadda foundation.

  • Fondation Gianadda, until November 23
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    LONDON – Inspired by pointillism, and a forerunner of Futurism, divisionism appeared in Italy at the end of the XIXth century. Its representatives, who were interested in optic mechanisms and in the perception of light, spread touches of pure color over the canvas, marrying complementary colors. Following the euphoria of unification, the country went through a serious economic crisis. Divisionists believed the same was to happen in art, that there was an urgent need for renovation. The National Gallery has brought the best-known paintings by these painters who all had a strong social commitment, from Pelizza da Volpedo to Morbelli, Grubicy de Dragon and Segantini.

  • National Gallery, until September 7
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    BRUSSELS - The summer exhibition of the Center for Fine Arts shows rock and art from a new perspective. It gathers for the first time visual artwork by internationally renowned rockartists, such as Patti Smith, Yoko Ono, Brian Eno, The Kills, Miss Kittin and Pete Doherty.

  • Palais des Beaux-Arts, until September 14
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    LIVERPOOL - The city of the Beatles is "the European capital of culture" for 2008. To attract the crowds, no useless risks have been taken: Klimt, one of the favorite painters of our time, is the subject of a retrospective with a sub-title just as much in vogue: «Vienna 1900». Aside from some very important paintings by Klimt (among them the Portrait of Hermine Gallia), the exhibition underlines the major role of the artist in the middle of the Viennese Secession and his interaction with Josef Hoffman and the group of the Wiener Werkstätte through decorative objects, furniture, jewellery or graphic design.

  • Tate Liverpool, until August 31
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    FERNAND LÉGER - Paris-New York

    BASEL - Fernand Léger (1881-1955) is a classic. The cool style and bold color of his paintings wrote a chapter in art history. Represented with several major works, Léger is a key artist in the Beyeler Collection as well. In fact, his famous statement that the pretty is the greatest enemy of the beautiful became the motto for Ernst and Hildy Beyeler's collecting activity - sufficient reason for the Fondation Beyeler to devote a large special exhibition to the artist.

  • Fondation Beyeler, until September 7
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    MUNICH –The Alte Pinakothek sheds light on an artist long forgotten, Ulrich Loth (1599-1662). He was mostly active in Munich, where he contributed to decorate numerous churches. A four-year study trip to Italy had a great influence on him and after that he completed many commissions for Maximilian I of Bavaria, in particular for historical scenes. The altarpieces and portraits assembled here show how the lessons given by Caravaggio on light or the realism of the characters combined with a baroque sensitivity inherited from Rubens to produce a «militant» painting in favor of the Catholic Counter-Reform.

  • Alte Pinakothek, until September 7
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    MADRID - From his beginnings marked by the rural world of Mont-Roig, in Catalonia, up to his sculptures and collages, which show his taste for matter in relief, from the «plutonic» figures from the thirties up to his ceramic works, this new way of looking at his work aims at pulling Miró away from the over intellectual games of the Surrealists and showing that this native urban artist also had an element of the rural world in his soul. Among the 70 works exhibited, some are on a privileged loan, such as the most important Miró works from the Guggenheim (Ploughed earth and Landscape) and from the MoMA (Catalan landscape).

  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, until September 14
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    FLORENCE -Like every year when summer is about to roll in, Italy has the knack for setting up very well targeted exhibitions. Rather than major heavyweight retrospectives, it brings forward the interaction between a territory and its artists. We saw it recently with Mantegna around Padova. This time it’s the turn of the Tuscan Mugello at the beginning of the Renaissance. This Northern-East part of Tuscany was the cradle of the Medici dynasty and was a land of many artists artists such as Giotto, Fra Angelico or Andrea del Castagno. The famous duel between Brunelleschi and Donatello, by the intermediary of a Crucifixion, is represented at San Piero a Sieve while the saga of the Medici and their villas is recreated at Borgo San Lorenzo and at Scarperia.

  • Several locations, until November 30
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    Contemporary Latin American Photography

    BRUSSELS - After the first, successful edition of The Summer of Photography in 2006, the Centre for Fine Arts is presenting a new edition in 2008, along with 23 partners (including the FotoMuseum of the Province of Antwerp, Musée de la Photographie and the MACs). All contemporary aspects of Belgian and international photography are scrutinized. In this framework, the Centre for Fine Arts proposes two projects: Pôze II, a community arts project in Brussels, and the exhibition Opening Maps: Contemporary Latin American Photography.

  • Palais des Beaux-Arts, until September 21
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    Urban Cultural Center

    BRUSSELS - To the South of the city, the Porte de Hal is the last remain of the second fortified wall of Brussels, that dates back to the end of the XIVth century, was 8 km long and had 74 towers. Six of the seven doors that lined this defensive construction were destroyed in the 1780s to allow the city to extend. The seventh, the Porte de Hal, survived thanks to the fact that at the time it was used as a prison. It reopened on 6 June 2008 to the public, following the major renovation works it underwent since 2007.

  • Porte de Hal
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    MADRID - The Prado Museum presents a grand exhibition on European portraits dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. Organised in collaboration with the National Gallery of London, where a different version of the event will be presented in October, it traces the development of portraiture through masterpieces that reflect the achievements of the art scenes of the day in both Northern and Southern Europe. It brings together nearly 130 works of 70 major artists, almost half of which come from other international institutions. All of the great names of the Renaissance are featured, from Jan van Eyck and Rubens to Dürer, Titian, Raphael, Botticelli and Holbein.

  • Museo del Prado, until September 7
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    BERN – His death is (or was) known by all French school children: 5 January 1477, on a freezing morning facing Nancy which he was laying siege to. Charles the Bold was 44 years old and the Bourgogne dynasty came to an end with his death. The exhibition at the museum of Art and History groups nearly 200 objects that prove the splendor of the Bourguignon court: paintings, illuminations (Charles' famous prayer book with its 47 miniatures, on loan from the Getty Museum), textiles (brocades from Milano as well as the not less known Mille fleurs tapestry from Brussels), pieces in siver and gold, jewels, paintings and sculptures.

  • Kunsthistorisches Museum, until August 24
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    STOCKHOLM - The Moderna Museet celebrates this year its fiftieth anniversary with a series of retrospective exhibits, which underline the vitality of an artistic center at the beginning of the sixties. After Rio de Janeiro and before Los Angeles (next October), it is now the turn of Milano and Torino during the economic miracle. From the monochromes and the conceptual (the Merdes d’artiste-Artists' shit-) by Piero Manzoni, up to the Arte povera by Merz and Penone, not forgetting Lucio Fontana, Fausto Melotti and Enrico Baj, Italy becomes once again what it was at the time of Futurism and metaphysical painting: a major center of contemporary art.

  • Moderna Museet, until September 7
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    LA CORUNA (Spain) – One would easily have imagined his work shown in France, where he died at Orgeval, in the Yvelines, in 1976, and where he did famous work in the Charente region with writer Claude Roy. Or even in Italy, where he also detailed the life of a small village (Luzzara) together with a big figure of movie scenarios (Cesare Zavattini). Well, it is not the case. In order to see the first European retrospective dedicated to photographer Paul Strand since his death, we will have to go to Galicia. It is indeed the Pedro Barrié de La Maza foundation that hosts some one hundred «vintage» photographs, reviewing all his career, from the museum of Fine Arts of Philadelphia and the Aperture Foundation in New York, where his archives are kept.

  • Fondación Barrié de La Maza, until September 14
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    LONDON –The Tate Modern dedicates a retrospective to Orientalist painting and allows the public to discover its most famous representatives, from Lord Leighton to the Pre-raphaelite Hunt and his famous Scapegoat. A varied landscape, covering a century and a half (1780-1930), with Egypt as its most recurring motif, is presented throough 120 works. There are precise oil paintings by John Frederick Lewis, «scoops» by David Roberts, the first to draw Petra, and watercolors quickly brushed by Edward Lear. Hammams, street scenes, English men in local clothes, landscapes of the Holy Land are the most often used motifs… following the harem, of course.

  • Tate Britain, until August 31
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    BRUSSELS – We have heard of bizarre ideas, but to go to Belgium for an English collection of Flemish paintings is a bit far fetched. And yet, the offer is announced backed up by a strong advertising campaign. The reason is very simple: the collection is one of the finest and is rarely shown - it is Queen Elizabeth's. Those of us who did not make it to Edinburgh where it was previously shown will therefore be able to catch up with its very rich program: some fifty works by Metsys, Bruegel, Teniers, Rubens, Van Dyck and their peers. What is interesting is to be able to confront these exceptional pieces with other paintings kept at the musées royaux des Beaux-Arts.

  • Musée d’Art ancien et moderne, until September 21
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