Of the many highlights that comes with travel, the key ones for me are art & architecture. Often an effortless fusion in Europe, two stand out galleries on this trip were the recently restored Picasso Museum in Paris, and Hauser & Wirth in Bruton, Somerset ~ luckily the list is a long one.
If you are visiting Paris, a must see is the Picasso Museum. The recently completed six year restoration of Hôtel Salé is a story in itself, read more about it here. Located in the heart of the the Marais it opened last October, housing a vast collection of works displayed over three levels. Simply wonderful.
Opened just over a year ago in June, Hauser & Wirth is a privately funded ‘contemporary’ art gallery curated around a restored collection of original farmhouse buildings. On the day we visit the sun is shining and our first view is a large scale Calder sculpture happily reaching skyward alongside weathered stone buildings, you can choose to wander in this out door space or enter into the main gallery via hand hewn oak and glass doors and through to a beautiful purpose built gallery space housing one off exhibitions.
A whimsical garden still in its infancy designed by Piet Oudolf (creator of the New York Highline) dotted with sculputres and Fermob chairs allow you to soak or bask in the English weather, depending on your luck! Or enjoy locally-sourced produce at the Roth Bar & Grill with the inside and outside spaces equally appealing. Gallery director Alice Workman is delighted with the numbers, over 65,000 since opening and the way people of all ages have responded to the space.
Stepping back in time in Amsterdam to view the best of the 17thC Flemish masters at the Rijks Museum, to name just a few Rembrandt, Frans Hals & the mesmerizing Vermeer painting ‘The Kitchen Maid’…my love of art history was satiated! Days later we were wandering in the antique area along Niewe Spiegelstraat and I fell in love with the contemporary Dutch painter Bernard Verkaaks’ intricately painted still life, the subject matter of old French confit pots sealed the deal – though i could be saving for a while.
And of course when in Amsterdam …The Van Gogh museum – the largest collection of Van Gogh works along with an extensive & moving collection of hand written letters giving insight to the 10 short years Van Gogh was painting. Unlike most museums/galleries photography of artwork is not allowed here which made for a very pleasant visit 🙂
There have been so many more serendipitous moments along the way, however if you do choose to visit the larger museums and galleries all i can say is go early! Most galleries these days have a great cafe/restaurant attached so you can grab a coffee and croissant before the crowds and you will be leaving when it looks like everyone else is arriving.
Happy Travels … Brooke