From Michelangelo to Hockney and Bruegel to Hopper: the best exhibitions in 2017

Edward Hopper's 'Gas' (1940) in America After the Fall at The Royal Academy
Detail of Edward Hopper's 'Gas' (1940) in America After the Fall at the Royal Academy Credit: Moma, New York/Scala, Florence

 January

 Elisabeth Frink: Transformation

A major solo exhibition by the late and now rather under-rated sculptor, whose feel for natural form was offset by the underlying tensions of the Cold War – from animal skeletons to the faces of torturers and assassins.

Hauser & Wirth, Bruton, Somerset (01749 814 060), Jan 19-May 7

'Mirage' (1967) by Elizabeth Frink at Hauser & Wirth, Somerset Credit: Dominic Brown

February

Vanessa Bell

Long over-shadowed by her elder sister Virginia Woolf, the Bloomsbury Group lynchpin and pioneer modernist gets a belated first major exhibition focussing on her talents as painter and powerfully decorative textile designer, rather than her celebrity associations. 

Dulwich Picture Gallery, London SE21 (020 8693 5254), Feb 8-June 4

 

David Hockney

From radical outsider to national treasure, the much-loved Yorkshire painter receives his most comprehensive exhibition yet in this 80th birthday tribute. From shimmering LA swimming pools to mulchy landscapes near Bridlington, this will inevitably be one of the year’s most popular shows.

Tate Britain, London SW1 (020 7887 8888), Feb 9-May 29 

Detail of Virginia Woolf by Vanessa Bell at Dulwich Picture Gallery Credit: National Portrait Gallery

Revolution: Russian Art 1917–1932

A panoramic survey of a euphoric period when political and artistic revolution went hand in hand – before brutal reality stepped in. The radical experimentation of modernist giants such as Chagall, Kandinsky and Malevich is seen alongside Stalinist social realism for the first time in a British gallery.

Royal Academy, London W1, (020 7300 8090), Feb 11-April 17

 

Bruegel: Defining a Dynasty

The first UK exhibition on the great Flemish artistic dynasty, famous for their peasant cavortings and moral fables. Featuring major loans from around the country, but focussing on important re-attributions from the Holburne’s own collection.

Holburne Museum, Bath (01225 388569), Feb 11-June 4

 

Eduardo Paolozzi

A powerful figure in the post-war period, prefiguring pop art on the one hand, and pioneering existential angst in expressive bronzes on the other, the Italian-Scottish artist then slightly slipped through the floorboards of history. This is a welcome opportunity to reassess a fascinating figure who recognised no boundaries of medium or style.

Whitechapel Gallery, London E1 (020 7522 7888), Feb 16-May 14

Detail of 'Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)' (1972) at Tate Britain Credit: David Hockney/ART GALLERY OF NEW SOUTH WALES/JENNI CARTER

Transferences: Sidney Nolan in Britain

Widely regarded as Australia’s greatest artist, Nolan spent much of the Fifties and Sixties in Britain, but focussing on quintessentially Australian subjects such as the outlaw New Kelly. This show brings together some of his iconic images, highlighting his set designs for theatre and ballet.

Pallant House, Chichester (01243 774557), Feb 19-June 4

 

America After the Fall: Painting in the 1930s

Downbeat melancholy and dynamic experimentation collide in the art of America after the catastrophic Wall Street Crash. The period is explored through masterpieces by the likes of Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper and the young Jackson Pollock.

Royal Academy, London W1 (020 7300 8090), February 25-June 4  

Detail of 'American Gothic' (1930) by Grant Wood in America After the Fall at the Royal Academy Credit: The Art Institute of Chicago, friends of American Art Collection

 

March

Tony Cragg

The Eighties produced a brilliant crop of British sculptors, including Antony Gormley and Anish Kapoor and, perhaps the best of the bunch, Tony Cragg. Here his enigmatic, unclassifiable forms receive their biggest U.K. outing to date, distributed over the majestic acres of Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park (01924 832631), March 4-Sept 9

 

Michelangelo & Sebastiano

Venetian painter Sebastiano del Piombo moved to Rome at an early age, becoming a favourite of the popes and a close associate of Michelangelo. This exhibition gives a “behind-the-scenes” look at their collaboration on two monumental paintings, including the National Gallery’s own majestic The Raising of Lazarus.

National Gallery, London WC2 (020 7747 2885), March 15-June 25

Detail of 'The Visitation' (1519) by Sebastiano del Piombo in Michelangelo & Sebastiano at the National Gallery Credit: RMN-Grand Palais (musee du Louvre)/Herve Lewandowski

Howard Hodgkin: Absent Friends

Howard Hodgkin’s paintings may look abstract, but their rich colour and free-flowing brushwork arte infused with the human presence: memories of encounters and events, recalled often over many years. The NPG’s largest ever exhibition devoted to a living artist focuses on this little known aspect of Hodgkin’s art.

National Portrait Gallery, London WC2 (020 7306 0055), March 23-June 18

 

House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth

The histories of fashion and of one of Britain’s great stately homes interweave through the clothes, accessories and jewellery worn by its female inhabitants, from 16th century virago Bess of Hardwick and the 18th century "Empress of Fashion” Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire to the Mitford sisters.

Chatsworth House, Derbyshire (01246 565300), March 25-Oct 22

Detail of 'Going for a walk with Andrew' by Howard Hodgkin in Absent Friends at the National Portrait Gallery Credit: Walker Art Center/Howard Hodgkin

The Studio & The Sea 

With ceramics suddenly hyper-trendy in contemporary art, this exhibition looks at a century of experimentation and interaction between pottery and art, from early 20th century St Ives master Bernard Leach to current hot names Jesse Wine and Aaron Angell.

Tate St Ives, Cornwall (0173 679 6226), March 31-Sept 3

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