Top 7 art exhibitions in 2019 advised by Jurg Widmer Probst

The art world feels like a pretty vibrant and exciting place to be at the moment. Financially, things might be a little uncertain, with volatile trade relationships and big unknown factors like Brexit potentially having an effect on the trade in art. But generally, sales are up, prices are breaking new records and to us at least, it feels like creatively there is a real buzz in the air.

There is nowhere better to see this than at some of the remarkable art exhibitions that you can visit around the world in 2019. With so much great art to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start – so with that in mind here is our quick guide to some of the highlights for the year to come.

Pierre Bonnard exhibition, Tate Modern

Spring is almost here, but while the days are still short and dark then we would strongly recommend a dose of Pierre Bonnard colour to lift your spirits. Bonnard was very highly thought of in his day – no less than Matisse described him as ‘the greatest’ – and it is easy to see why his fellow Post-Impressionists loved him so much. One of the most captivating aspects of his art are its humble subjects – he was a master at capturing little glimpses of everyday life in vivid colour. The exhibition runs until 6 May – find out more here.

Diane Arbus, Hayward Gallery

Staying in London for a while, we recommend heading down to the Southbank Centre’s Hayward Gallery to check out this wonderful exhibition of photographs by the pioneering Diane Arbus. She was very much a New Yorker, (and this exhibition is a collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art there) – and her subjects range from circus performers to shoppers. It is by turns gritty and darkly surprising, and is an unmissable show for fans of contemporary photography. Again, this exhibition is on until 6 May – book your tickets here.

Garry Winogrand at the Brooklyn Museum

While we’re on the subject of New York photography, this great exhibition by US photographer Garry Winogrand is well worth a visit. He’s best known for his black and white work, so seeing the way he portrayed his subjects in colour too gives a fascinating new insight into his art. It’s the first ever show featuring his work in colour and it is an absorbing look at the every day life of 1950s New York. The exhibition runs until 18 August – find out more here.

Sofonisba Anguissola and Lavinia Fontana at the Prado

The Prado is a wonderful place to explore anyway – but especially when it has an exhibition of the quality of this one on. These two female painters may not be so well known now, but there was a time in the 1500s when they were hugely sought after in the highest circles of European society. They were real pioneers and played an important role in challenging stereotypes about the abilities of female artists. The exhibition ends in February 2020 – find out more here.

All the Rembrandts at the Rijksmuseum

This might not have been the most imaginatively titled exhibition that Amsterdam’s premier art gallery has ever put on – and the concept behind it is a pretty blunt one too – but that doesn’t make the prospect of seeing the world’s largest collection of Rembrandt’s paintings all in one place any less exciting. And of course it isn’t just about those 22 masterpieces – there are also hundreds of rarely seen sketches by the Dutch genius to enjoy too. It runs until 10 June – more details here.

Turner, Ruskin, Rossetti, Morris And Burne-Jones at the Ichigokan

Bustling Tokyo doesn’t seem the most likely place to catch an exhibition on John Ruskin, Turner and Pre-Raphaelite style, but this year the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Gallery is doing its bit to mark Ruskin’s 200th birthday. It is a fascinating show covering everything from interiors and textiles to the decorative arts. Well worth a visit, and the exhibition runs until 9 June. There is more information here.

The Venice Biennale

The art world’s big get together takes place in Venice only every two years and this year it’s on between May and the end of November. It is a mind-boggling display of the talents of hundreds of contemporary artists from around the world all shown side by side. Even if you’re not in the market for buying a painting, it is still well worth coming and soaking up the atmosphere of this unique city and this even more unique event. Find out more here.

Whatever your tastes – whether it is for contemporary photography, classical painting or modern art – 2019 is all set to be quite a year for those of us who love to enjoy art up close and in person.

Jurg Widmer Probst

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