THERE is Monet mania as the Baltimore Museum of Art prepares for what promises to be one of its best-attended exhibits. Although other local museums and galleries are not exactly taking the season off, the Monet exhibit dominates the fall schedule. Even local cab drivers may well be asking "How 'bout them Monets?"
0 "Claude Monet: Impressionist Masterpieces From the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston" Baltimore Museum of Art ZTC Oct. 13-Jan. 19.
Those with art scorecards will note that the Boston museum is lending 32 Monet paintings, while in exchange the BMA is sending 50 works from the Cone collection to Boston. The loans amount to trading Monet for Matisse. Boston, you see, only has two paintings by Matisse in its permanent collection, while the BMA only has two Monet paintings.
The Monets coming our way will provide a sampling of such well-known subjects as grainstacks, Rouen Cathedral, Charing Cross Bridge, and water lilies. So there will surely be much oohing and aahing at the BMA in the months ahead as these Impressionist masterpieces go on view.
If there is even the slightest misgiving about the venture, it may be that the BMA has been so relentless in pressing the hype button, with one museum press release proclaiming Monet to be "the most widely recognized artist in the world." Where does that leave Michelangelo, Rembrandt, van Gogh and Picasso? Oh, well, Monet mania will do that to you.
Circa 1492: Art in the Age of Exploration"
National Gallery of Art, Washington Oct. 12-Jan. 12.
If Baltimoreans justifiably take pride in having Monet in town and in turn showing off the Cone collection in Boston, the other exhibition highlight of the season is down the road in Washington. This is about as ambitious an exhibit as any museum dare mount without risking visitors fainting from sensory overload. The show, which ranks with the largest ever held at the National Gallery, boasts more than 600 paintings, drawings, sculptures, decorative objects, scientific instruments and maps from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. This exhibit aims to showcase the creative and intellectual condition of the world at the time Columbus made his voyages over.
"Gold of Africa: Jewelry and Ornaments From Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali and Senegal," Sept. 24 through Nov. 10, Baltimore Museum of Art and
"Jacob Lawrence: The Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman Series of Narrative Paintings" Nov. 26-Feb. 23, Baltimore Museum of Art
Even if Monet and Columbus are a favored topic of conversation at many year-end parties, these are two to keep in mind during talks over the holiday eggnog.
, "Gold of Greece: Jewelry and Ornaments From the Benaki Museum" Nov. 24-Jan. 19 The Walters Art Gallery
In a quirky coincidence, the BMA does not have an exclusive claim on gold. The Walters Art Gallery is presenting this glittering show from the extensive holdings of the Benaki Museum in Athens. It features more than 200 pieces of goldwork from ca. 1,500 B.C. to the 19th century.
0 Paintings of Raoul Middleman Sept. 8-Oct. 31 Jewish Community Center and
Middleman pastels Sept. 5-28 Artshowcase
Among both private and non-profit galleries in the Baltimore area, a notable aspect of the fall season is the opportunity we'll have to see exhibits devoted to several artists who have themselves long been devoted to this city. The brusque eloquence found in Middleman's brushwork and his conversation have made him a notable presence in Baltimore. Often celebrating the rotting wharves of pre-Harborplace Baltimore in his expressive paintings, he finds a rough charm here that you won't find in postcard images.
- "Artist and Model Series" by Amalie Rothschild Sept. 5 through Sept. 28 C. Grimaldis Gallery
Amalie is another well-established local artist, who is best known for abstract paintings and sculptures that are planned with mathematical precision. Recently, she has returned to figurative subjects. So it should be interesting to see artwork the she exhibits at the gallery.
Works of Bennard Perlman Nov. 3-Dec. 1 Baltimore Hebrew Congregation
Busy for decades as a teacher, artist, art scholar and critic, Perlman sums it all up in an exhibit at Hoffberger surveying 50 years of his art. Baltimore has often served as his subject matter, including the illustrations he continues to do for the editorial pages of The Sun. And just published is Bennard Perlman's biography "Robert Henri: His Life and Art."
Works of Joyce Scott Sept. 14-Nov. 17 Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington
Lest the reader, at this point, concludes that I am heedless of younger Baltimore artists, don't forget to make a trip over to Washington to see Scott's first solo museum exhibit. This African-American artist will satirically tackle issues of race and gender through the beadwork and handmade paper drawings on display at the Corcoran.