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This season, people are talking about three once-in-a-lifetime opportunitieshere in the US, to see extraordinary art from some major international collections. The exhibitions -- in New York City, Washington DC, and Los Angeles -- focus on three of the most famous names in the history of Western art: Michelangelo, Vermeer and Caravaggio.  


See them if you can!  They’ll be crowded, of course, but they promise to be truly extraordinary art-viewing experiences ... definitely worth making an effort to see.

18 Outstanding Exhibitions To See This Winter

We've put these three exceptional exhibitions at the top of our "must-see" list, and the editors at ArtGeek have selected 15 more outstanding shows -- from among the many -- at museums around the country. 


After the the first three, the exhibitions are listed by order of closing date. They range from priceless ancient Aztec treasures, to elegant 20th-century fashion, to pioneers in photography and modern painting and sculpture, to contemporary Caribbean. Two of the exhibitions highlight the influence of other cultures, on Picasso and on Joseph Albers. Another represents an exciting opportunity to take a trip to Baroque Rome, without actually taking a trip to Rome!


Art exhibitions scheduled at more than 1000 US museums are at your fingertips at ArtGeek.art  --  wherever you are or wherever you're going in the USA!

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Michelangelo Buonarroti

Italian, Caprese 1475-1564 Rome. 

Portrait of Andrea Quaratesi, 1532. Drawing, black chalk

The British Museum, London.

10 works by Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) and 55 more by his fellow painters of the Dutch Golden Age. The exhibition examines the artistic exchanges among Vermeer and his contemporaries from 1650 to 1675, when they reached the height of their technical ability and mastery of depictions of domestic life. 


Seen first in Paris, then Dublin, and now DC, the exhibition includes the first-ever showing in the US of The Lacemaker.

Johannes Vermeer

The Lacemaker, c. 1670-71 

Oil on canvas, transferred to panel

24.5 x 21 cm (9 5/8 x 8 1/4 in.)

Musée du Louvre, Paris, Département des Peintures, Acquired in 1870

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Through January 21, 2018 

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Michelangelo, A drawing of Three Labors of Hercules

c.1530 Red chalk 27.2 x 42.2 cm

Royal Collection by c.1810 (Inventory A, p. 45, Michelangelo, II,1.)

He was called Il divino ("divine one") by his contemporaries, for his mastery of drawing, design, sculpture, painting, and architecture. 128 drawings, 3 marble sculptures, his earliest painting, and his wood architectural model for a chapel vault are from 53 collections across the United States and Europe.  


Also, complementary works by his teachers, associates, pupils, and artists who were influenced by him are shown for comparison and context.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City NY

November 13, 2017 through February 12, 2018

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November 21, 2017 -  February 18, 2018

J. Paul Getty Museum - The Getty Center, Los Angeles CA

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This small, focused Caravaggio exhibition is an exciting and rare opportunity in the US to experience three masterpieces from the renowned collection of the Galleria Borghese in Rome. Among Caravaggio’s best-known paintings, these canvases provide insight into three crucial stages in his short but intense career.  


Always true-to-life, with his dramatic chiaroscuro, Caravaggio's work launched a new style of painting and inspired generations of artists. 

 Caravaggio (Italian, 1571-1610)

David with the Head of Goliath, c. 1609-1610. Oil on canvas  

Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo–Galleria Borghese.

This exhibition of the luxury arts of the Incas, Aztecs, and their predecessors traces the development of gold-working in the ancient Americas, from its earliest appearance circa 1000 BC to the arrival of Europeans in the early 16th century. Developed in the context of ritual and regalia, metalworking incorporated jade, shell, and feathers—materials often considered more valuable than gold. More than 300 works, from 53 lenders in 12 countries.

Burial Mask, 525–550 Moche

Copper, gilded copper, shell, violet-colored stone

H: 20 x W: 22.2 x D: 10.8 cm (7 7/8 x 8 3/4 x 4 1/4 in.)

Museo de Sitio Chan Chan, Huanchaco, Perú 

Ministerio de Cultura del Perú. 

Photo: Christopher B. Donnan EX.2017.2.224

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Through January 28, 2018

J. Paul Getty Museum - The Getty Center, Los Angeles CA

Through January 28, 2018   

Portland Art Museum, Portland OR

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More than eighty paintings and drawings by N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945), his son Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) and his grandson Jamie Wyeth (born in 1946). Spanning the golden age of illustration to mid-century portraiture, all showcase a commitment to realism, technical brilliance, and narrative sensibility. Also included are Henriette Wyeth (1907-1997) who painted striking portraits, landscapes, and still lifes, and her husband Peter Hurd (1904-1984), who chronicled the landscape of the American West.

Jamie Wyeth (American, born 1946), The Tempest, A Triptych, 1999, watercolor, gouache, and varnish highlights on gray archival board, Bank of America Collection.

Through January 28, 2018

Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston TX

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Nearly 70 ensembles showcase the illustrious career of the renowned fashion designer. For more than five decades de la Renta (1932–2014) designed beautiful clothes, from elegant daywear to resplendent evening gowns -- worn by fashion icons, dignitaries, and celebrities including Beyoncé, Laura Bush, and Amal Clooney. Highlights the the recurring impact on his designs of Spain, Russia, China, Japan, and the garden.

Oscar de la Renta, Custom Evening Ensemble, 2001

silk taffeta and silk satin, courtesy of Oscar de la Renta Archive 

(worn by Mica Ertegun to an event celebrating her 

40th wedding anniversary to Ahmet Ertegun, 2001) 

© Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

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Through January 28, 2018 

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco - Legion Of Honor,  San Francisco CA

Celebrates the legacies of these two pioneers, who each broke the reigning aesthetic boundaries of the time, to find new vocabularies and create powerful agendas for modern painting and sculpture. This first major Klimt exhibition on the West Coast will survey the span of the artist’s practice with 33 paintings, and 25 Rodin sculptures & works on paper invite connections between the two artists to be explored.

Gustav Klimt, "Portrait of Ria Munk III (Bildnis Ria Munk III)"

1917 (unfinished). Oil on canvas, 180 x 90 cm. The Lewis Collection

Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

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Walker Evans, Truck and Sign, 1928–30

gelatin silver print; 

private collection, San Francisco

© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Through February 4, 2018

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), San Francisco CA

A major retrospective of more than 300 images highlights his obsession for the American vernacular, or the language of everyday life. Over five decades, Evans’s powerful images responded to and reflected the spirit, suffering, and fortitude of a nation.

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Josef Albers

Detail of stonework, Mitla, ca. 1937

Gelatin silver print, 24.7 × 17.7 cm

The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation

© 2017 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

 Through February 18, 2018

Guggenheim Museum, New York City NY

In a letter to Vasily Kandinsky, Albers (1888-1976) wrote: “Mexico is truly the promised land of abstract art.”


Albers visited Mexico and other Latin American countries nearly a dozen times, taking hundreds of black-and-white photographs of the pyramids, shrines, and sanctuaries at these sites. The works in the exhibition suggest a nuanced relationship between the forms and motifs of pre-Columbian monuments and Alber’s iconic abstract canvases.

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Ebony G. Patterson (Jamaica, b. 1981)

Untitled (Goffa) from the series Out and Bad, 2012 

Mixed media jacquard woven tapestry with drug money,

fabric flowers, spray enamel on cinderblocks & wallpaper, 78 x 54 in.

Courtesy of the Collection of Kyle DeWoody, Brooklyn,

the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago

Through February 25, 2018

Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach CA

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More than 80 artists working in various media represent art from throughout the Caribbean islands in the twenty-first century. Highlights thematic continuities and recurring themes, including race and ethnicity, history, identity, sovereignty, migration, and sustainability.

December 7, 2017 - March 4, 2018

Haggin Museum, Stockton  CA

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More than 80 oil paintings and nearly 30 works on paper, dating from the 1880s through the 1940s, arranged according to the artists’ colonies that played a critical role in the development of American Impressionism. Landscapes, seascapes, portraits, and still lifes, imbued with rich textures, reveal artists’ interest in capturing effects of light and atmosphere.

Robert Reid (Stockbridge, Massachusetts 1862-1929, Clifton Springs, New York), Summer Breezes, ca 1910-20. Oil on canvas, 33 3/4 x 39 inches. Reading Public Museum, Pennsylvania

Through March 4, 2018

 McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture, Knoxville TN

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Killer Whale Mask, 1990, Chief Walter Harris (Git’san and Tsimshian, 1931–2009), Wood, ermine fur, animal fur, paint, Anonymous lender.

Explores Northwest Coast art through more than 60 objects made by known and unknown artists, representing traditional and modern forms of cultural expression. Using indigenous and trade materials obtained along the coast of Oregon and north to Alaska, Northwest coast peoples mark elaborate ceremonial life, social rank, and prestige through their objects.

Through April 8, 2018

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City MO

Explores Pablo Picasso’s life-long fascination with African and Oceanic art, as well as works from the Americas, uniting his paintings and sculpture with art that fueled his own creative exploration.

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Masque, Otomi, Mexico, State of Hidalgo, San Bartolo Tutotepec, Piedra Ancha 1900s. Wood, fur, horns, 15 x 10 x 8 ½""  

© musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac photo Claude Germain

Large Still Life on a Pedestal Table, 1931 Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, Spanish (1881-1973) Oil on canvas, 82 ¼ x 57 x 3 1/8 inches Musée National Picasso, Paris

January 20, 2018 – April 8, 2018

The Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Winter Park FL

Forty-five French 19th-century landscape paintings from the Musée des Beaux Arts in Reims. The exhibition traces the revolutionary evolution of landscape painting in France from the romantics to the School of Barbizon, the circle of Honfleur, and up to Impressionism. These artists rejected urban life and burgeoning industrialization, seeking untouched nature in its original form. They were fascinated by the mysteries of the forest and the rural tradition.

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (French, 1796-1875)

Printemps, la saulaie, undated

Oil on canvas, 40 x 60.5 cm.  \

922.7 Musée des Beaux-Arts, Reims

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Glenn Ligon. America, 2008. Neon sign and paint,

Ed. AP. Rubell Family Collection. Copyright Glenn Ligon

February 8, 2018 - May 6, 2018

McNay Art Museum, San Antonio TX

With selections from the Rubell Family Collection, the exhibition showcases works by many of the most important African American artists of the last three decades. This provocative exhibition focuses on issues of racial, sexual, and historical identity in contemporary culture while exploring the powerful influence of artistic legacy and community across generations.

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The Parthenon, 1871

Oil on canvas. Overall: 44 1/2 × 72 5/8 inches (113 × 184.5 cm) 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Bequest of Maria DeWitt Jesup, from the collection of her

husband, Morris K. Jesup, 1914 (15.30.67) 

Through January 15, 2018

Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit MI

February 9, 2018 - May 13, 2018

Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Winston-Salem NC

More than fifty paintings and studies that Church completed during and after his 1867–1869 trip to the Near East, Rome, and Greece. Created in the aftermath of the Civil War, these paintings show Church turning his attention from nature to history, focusing on the rise and fall of civilizations as a way of dealing with loss that was both national and personal.

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February 1, 2018 - May 19, 2018

Fairfield University Art Museum, Fairfield CT

Major loan exhibition of historically important works of art tells of the rise of the Society of Jesus in Rome and the building of the Gesù, its glorious mother church. Art from the Gesù itself (never before lent to America) includes a marble bust by Baroque sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini, plus paintings, drawings, sculpture and prints from museums and private collections.

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Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Italian, 1598-1680)

Bust of Cardinal Roberto Bellarmino, 1621-24

Marble, 30 ⅞ x 27 ½ x 19 ¾ in. (76.5 x 70 x 50 cm)

Church of the Gesù, Rome

Photo Credit: Andrea Jemolo/Scala / Art Resource, NY

November 12, 2017 – July 8, 2018

NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale FL

Frank Stella, Lettre sur les sourds et muets II, 1974

Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 

141 x 141 x 4 inches. Private Collection, NY 

© 2017 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, 

Photo Credit: Christopher Burke

Approximately 300 paintings, relief sculpture and drawings span the artist’s 60-year career from the late 1950’s to the present. Offers insight into his trajectory from minimalism (e.g. the geometry of the black paintings) to maximalism (eg. the spatially complex constructionist, large sculptures of the Moby Dick series.)

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And there you have it …

18 outstanding exhibitions to see this Winter

East, West, and in-between!

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