Good things coming in the museum world this spring. The Metropolitan Museum of Art just re-opened their 19th-early 20th c galleries a bit over a week ago, so museum visitors will be able to enjoy a spiffed-up setting for van Gogh & Co. The Met has some great-looking shows coming up in the next few months, the highlight in my view being a retrospective of Gustave Courbet (Feb 27-May 18). The National Gallery in Washington, DC will be presenting, among other shows, "The Forest of Fontainebleau: Painters and Photographers from Corot to Manet" (March 2-June 8) a show which was presented at the Musée d'Orsay this year (if I'm not mistaken), and which will travel to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, following the Washington venue. The show I'm sorry to be missing at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is "Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice" (March 15-July 19), co-organized with the Musée du Louvre.
The Van Gogh Museum's big spring show is co-organized with the Tate Gallery and presents the work of British painter John Everett Millais; his wondrous "Ophelia" will be a highlight. But the exhibition for which I wish Floo Powder really existed (apologies to Ms. Rowling) is the focus-show "Van Gogh's Scribbles," which I assume will be presented in the intimate print-room gallery on the third floor (European second floor). This display will present some of Vincent's original sketchbooks, letters to Theo & co. with sketches of paintings-in-progress, and other bits of this and that on which Vincent liked to scribble (restaurant menus being but one example). Because these artifacts are so sensitive to light, they are rarely put on view, so the folks visiting the VGM between January 11 and March 30, 2008 are in for a treat. How do you say "jealous" in Dutch? Oh well, I'll sit home and leaf through my copy of "The Seven Sketchbooks of Vincent van Gogh," which presents nice facsimiles of the sketchbook pages and even the restaurant menus.