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Sculpture by Anu Põder, 'Drowning Girl' by Roy Litchenstein, 'Naming the Money' by Lubaina Himid, Charcoal drawing by Frank Auerbach
Sculpture by Anu Põder, 'Drowning Girl' by Roy Litchenstein, 'Naming the Money' by Lubaina Himid, Charcoal drawing by Frank Auerbach Copyright Credit: Muzeum Susch/ALBERTINA/Stuart Whipps/Franki Rossie Art Project
Copyright Credit: Muzeum Susch/ALBERTINA/Stuart Whipps/Franki Rossie Art Project
Copyright Credit: Muzeum Susch/ALBERTINA/Stuart Whipps/Franki Rossie Art Project

From Yoko Ono to Roy Lichtenstein: The best European art exhibitions to see in 2024

By Theo Farrant
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Yoko Ono's art activism, Roy Lichtenstein's pop art revolution, and Frans Hals' 17th-century portrait magic are all set to dazzle Europe in 2024.

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2024 is looking like a very exciting year for European art exhibitions. 

Unsure of what's coming up? Look no further. 

From the retrospective showcase of Roy Lichtenstein in Vienna to the London Royal Academy of Art's collective examination of art's influence on colonial narratives, we have meticulously curated a selection of what we believe are the most outstanding and enthralling art exhibitions slated to dazzle art enthusiasts throughout the year.

'Lotte Laserstein: A Divided Life' at Moderna Museet (Stockholm, Sweden)

Lotte Laserstein - 'Evening over Potsdam' (1930)
Lotte Laserstein - 'Evening over Potsdam' (1930)Credit: Lotte Laserstein Bildupphovsrätt 2023

This extensive exhibition at Moderna Museet in Stockholm showcases the groundbreaking German-Swedish artist Lotte Laserstein's work, emphasising both her pre-emigration period and her multifaceted creations in exile. Central to the exhibition is Laserstein's renowned masterpiece, 'Evening Over Potsdam', a compelling portrayal of young people on a balcony against the backdrop of the Weimar Republic's tumultuous end.

'Lotte Laserstein: A Divided Life' at the Moderna Museet opened on 11 November 2023 and runs until 14 April 2024.

'Anu Põder: Space for My Body' at Muzeum Susch (Susch, Switzerland)

Muzeum Susch is staging a comprehensive exhibition devoted to Estonian sculptor and installation artist Anu Põder
Muzeum Susch is staging a comprehensive exhibition devoted to Estonian sculptor and installation artist Anu PõderCredit: Margus Haavamägi/Muzeum Susch

The first international retrospective of acclaimed Estonian artist Anu Põder (1947-2013) is set to debut on 3 January 2024, at Muzeum Susch, an institution dedicated to exhibiting and promoting the work of overlooked female artists. Derived from the title of one of Põder's sculptures, 'Anu Põder: Space for My Body' assembles over forty works spanning the years 1978 to 2012. Põder uses unconventional materials like textile, wax, plaster and soap to explore Estonian identity and the human body's fragility through evocative sculptures. The exhibition is worth a visit for the stunning museum alone - situated within the historic walls of a former 12th-century monastery and brewery, nestled in the alpine village's mountains. 

'Anu Põder: Space for My Body' at Muzeum Susch opens 3 January 2024 and runs until 30 June 2024

'Entangled Pasts, 1768–now: Art, Colonialism and Change' at Royal Academy of Arts (London, UK)

'Naming the Money' by Lubaina Himid RA (2004)
'Naming the Money' by Lubaina Himid RA (2004)Credit: Spike Island, Bristol/Stuart Whipps/Hollybush Gardens/London and National Museums

J.M.W. Turner meets Ellen Gallagher. John Singleton Copley partners with Hew Locke. The collision of past and present takes centre stage at the Royal Academy of Arts' upcoming exhibition exploring art's role in shaping narratives of empire, enslavement, resistance and abolition. The exhibition pulls together over 100 major contemporary and historic works from more than 50 artists, including Lubaina Himid, Frank Bowling, Thomas Gainsborough and Isaac Julien, to reflect on how art is entangled with colonial histories. Highlights include Hew Locke’s major installation 'Armada', on display in London for the first time, consisting of a giant flotilla of model boats recalling different periods and places, and Joshua Reynolds’ stunning 'Portrait of a Man'. Not one to miss! 

'Entangled Pasts, 1768–now: Art, Colonialism and Change' at Royal Academy of Arts opens on 3 February 2024 and runs until 28 April 2024.

'Frank Auerbach: The Charcoal Heads' at The Courtauld Gallery (London, UK)

Charcoal portraits by Frank Auerbach
Charcoal portraits by Frank AuerbachCredit: Franki Rossi Art Project, London

London's stunning Courtauld Gallery will be presenting a remarkable series of hauntingly beautiful, large-scale drawings created from the 1950s and early 1960s by German-British artist Frank Auerbach. His heads, emerging alive from the charcoal darkness, reflect a struggle of creation and destruction, mirroring the post-war era's rebuilding. The "Charcoal Heads" drawings will be shown together with a selection of paintings he made of the same sitters. 

'Frank Auerbach: The Charcoal Heads' at The Courtauld Gallery opens on 9 February 2024 and runs until 27 May 2024

'Alberto Giacometti – What Meets the Eye' at the SMK National Gallery of Denmark (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Alberto Giacometti pictured on the left. Three Walking Men by Alberto Giacometti pictured on the right
Alberto Giacometti pictured on the left. Three Walking Men by Alberto Giacometti pictured on the rightCredit: Succession Alberto Giacometti/Getty Images

Renowned for creating the most expensive sculpture ever auctioned (The Man with the Finger), the artistic genius of Alberto Giacometti will soon take centre stage in a comprehensive exhibition at the SMK, curated in collaboration with the Fondation Giacometti in Paris. This expansive showcase offers an in-depth exploration of the 20th century Swiss artist's work, spanning sculpture, painting, graphics, and drawing. Comprising approximately 90 works, the exhibition delves into the pivotal decades of the 1920s and 1930s, a transformative period that undeniably moulded Giacometti's artistic vision. 

'Alberto Giacometti – What Meets the Eye' at the SMK National Gallery of Denmark opens on 10 February 2024 and runs until 20 May 2024.

'Yoko Ono: Music of the Mind' at the Tate Modern (London, UK)

Yoko Ono, FLY 1970 - 71
Yoko Ono, FLY 1970 - 71Credit: Yoko Ono/Tate Modern

We've all heard of Yoko Ono - most likely for being the wife and artistic partner of musician John Lennon. But now London's Tate Modern will be allowing visitors to explore an extensive art exhibition dedicated to the Japanese multimedia artist's creative output, including installations, films, scores, music, and photography. The monumental showcase spans seven decades of her artistic evolution, presenting over 200 artworks. It will offer visitors a unique glimpse into Ono's unconventional approach, featuring 'instruction pieces' that invite readers to engage with the artwork through written directives, prompting them to imagine, experience, make, or complete the piece. A significant focus of the exhibition is on Ono's radical works produced during her five-year residence in London from 1966. Notable installations from her influential exhibitions at Indica and Lisson Gallery will be highlighted, including iconic pieces like 'Apple' and the emotionally charged installation of halved domestic objects, 'Half-A-Room'.

'Yoko Ono: Music of the Mind' at the Tate Modern opens on 15 February 2024and runs until 1 September 2024

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'Frans Hals' at the Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

A closeup look at 'Marriage Portrait of Isaac Massa and Beatrix van der Laen' by Frans Hals, c. 1622
A closeup look at 'Marriage Portrait of Isaac Massa and Beatrix van der Laen' by Frans Hals, c. 1622Credit: Rijksmuseum

After celebrated solo exhibitions of Vermeer and Rembrandt, the Rijksmuseum is set to unveil an exhibition dedicated to Frans Hals in 2024. Featuring approximately 50 of the Dutch master's greatest paintings, many sourced from prominent international collections, this exhibition highlights Hals's reputation as one of the 17th century's most innovative artists, known for his brisk and impressionistic painting style. Hals brought his subjects to life on canvas, capturing the life of regents, musicians, children, and more. A significant moment in the exhibition is the return of Frans Hals's most celebrated painting, 'The Laughing Cavalier' (1624), to the Netherlands for the first time in over 150 years. 

'Frans Hals' at the Rijksmuseum opens on 16 February 2024 and runs until 9 June 2024.

'Roy Lichtenstein: A Centennial Exhibition' at the ALBERTINA (Vienna, Austria)

Drowing Girl by Roy Lichtenstein (1963)
Drowing Girl by Roy Lichtenstein (1963)Credit: Roy Lichtenstein/ALBERTINA

Roy Lichtenstein, one of the leading early pioneers of the pop art movement, just turned 100 - and the ALBERTINA Museum is celebrating the artist with a grand retrospective set to feature over 90 paintings, sculptures, and graphic works. Stemming from the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation's generous donation of around 100 works, the sprawling exhibition covers Lichtenstein's iconic '60s pieces like 'Look Mickey' and 'Popeye', along with black-and-white paintings, enamel landscapes, and reinterpretations of artists like Picasso and Jackson Pollock. It'll be a visual feast that's simply unmissable!

'Roy Lichtenstein: A Centennial Exhibition' at the ALBERTINA opens on 8 March 2024 and runs until 14 July 2024.

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'Caspar David Friedrich: Infinite Landscapes' at the Alte Nationalgalerie (Berlin, Germany)

Moonrise Over the Sea by Caspar David Friedrich (1822)
Moonrise Over the Sea by Caspar David Friedrich (1822)Credit: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie / Fotograf: Jörg P. Anders

In celebration of the 250th anniversary of Caspar David Friedrich's birth (1774–1840), the Alte Nationalgalerie in collaboration with the Kupferstichkabinett, are unveiling an inaugural and comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the works of the most prominent painter of the German Romantic movement. Friedrich's work, deeply rooted in nature and spirituality, often depict sublime scenes of nature, featuring solitary figures and Gothic ruins. The Berlin showcase will feature approximately 60 paintings and 50 drawings sourced from Germany and beyond, showcasing several globally renowned and iconic masterpieces, such as Abbey in the Oakwood and The Monk by the Sea. The exhibition will also shed light on the latest results of research into Friedrich’s painting technique. 

'Caspar David Friedrich: Infinite Landscapes' at the Alte Nationalgalerie opens on 19 April 2024 and runs until 4 August 2024.

'Olympism: Modern Invention, Ancient Legacy' at the Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)

Jets flyover the Musée du Louvre
Jets flyover the Musée du LouvreCredit: Paris 2024

As the city of Paris gears up to host the Olympic Games, a fascinating exhibition titled 'Olympism: Modern Invention, Ancient Legacy' is set to unfold from at the prestigious Louvre. Delving into the origins of the first modern Olympic Games, the exhibition aims to highlight the political backdrop that gave rise to these Games and explore the visionary efforts of organisers to reimagine the ancient Greek sporting competitions. Beyond the well-known figure of Pierre de Coubertin, the 'father' of the modern Games, the exhibition explores key individuals of Franco-Greek origin, including Emile Gilliéron, a Swiss artist and archaeological draughtsman residing in Greece, who was appointed the official artist for the 1896 and 1906 Olympic Games. A highlight of the exhibition is the first Olympic Cup, created for the marathon winner at the 1896 Games in Athens. Mark your calendars!

'Olympism: Modern Invention, Ancient Legacy' at the Musée du Louvre opens on 24 April 2024and runs until 16 September 2024.

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