From the Fine Art Connoisseur July/August 2021 Editor’s Note:
The first decade of Fine Art Connoisseur trips have become legendary, ranging across almost every European country from Russia to Spain, from Scotland to Greece.
We began in 2010 with a trip to St. Petersburg and the Baltic, and our most recent adventure was in Provence and Scotland (quite the combination). Not surprisingly, our plans to visit Vienna, Berlin, and Dresden in 2020 were delayed a year, but now we are ready to head there this October.
Fine Art Connoisseur Publisher Eric Rhoads and I are busy finalizing the day-by-day itinerary for this masterpiece-rich odyssey in Austria and Germany, which encompasses famous sites and also unexpected ones well off the beaten track. As both America and Europe reopen, it is a joy to be reconnecting with our trusted colleagues in these cultured cities to ensure we get special access and behind-the-scenes experiences every day.
The main program will start with four nights in the heart of Vienna. On our hit list in Austria’s capital are the grand Kunsthistoriches Museum — with its revered Bruegel, Rubens, and Vermeer paintings — and the Belvedere, where Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” reigns supreme. We will visit the Albertina, with its intricate drawings by Albrecht Dürer, and the buzzing Dorotheum, one of the world’s leading auction houses.
Our group will relive the glory of the Habsburg empire not only by exploring the eye-popping chapels and chambers of the Imperial Palace complex, but also the Hofmobiliendepot — an ordinary-looking warehouse filled with the amazing furniture and other household items this dynastic family used regularly. And, of course, we will pay close attention to the artistic flowering of Vienna circa 1900; a leading scholar of the Werkstätte and Secession movements will show us some of his favorite creations by such talents as Josef Hoffmann and Otto Wagner.
Next, we fly to Berlin for a five-night stay, during which we will dig deeply into the German capital’s incredible heritage, starting with its spectacular museums. Among them are the Gemäldegalerie (Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and two Vermeers), the Alte Nationalgalerie (Friedrich, Manet, and Menzel), and the Die Brücke Museum (early 20th-century German Expressionism). We will also probe Berlin’s thriving contemporary art scene at the Lempertz auction house, galleries handling newly made realism, and several artists’ studios.
And because this is Berlin, we will reconsider its troubled 20th-century history at the restored Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, and Checkpoint Charlie. We will also take a daytrip half-an-hour southwest to Potsdam, where legendary imperial palaces such as Sans Souci and Charlottenhof await us, along with a rare exhibition of East German socialist realist paintings that are finally coming out of storage after decades of neglect.
Those who want still more great art are welcome to join us for the optional three-night post-trip in Dresden, only a two-hour drive south of Berlin. There we will walk throughout this breathtaking Baroque city, which has been rebuilt — stone by stone — since the fire-bombing in 1945. The Baroque Zwinger Palace’s collections of Old Master paintings and sculpture were recently reinstalled, and contain yet another Vermeer and even Raphael’s Sistine Madonna. We will also visit the spot where Augustus the Strong of Saxony and Poland founded the world’s first museum in 1723. The legendary Green Vault is only one portion of his Royal Palace, which we will explore fully with experts. Lovers of 18th-century Meissen porcelain will be especially happy in Dresden, which is where that famous ceramics manufactory got its start.
For all three cities, we have built in time for independent exploring, shopping, and evenings at the opera, ballet, and symphony — among the best in the world. October is a great month to visit Austria and Germany because the weather is comfortable, but not yet cold.
I am personally very excited about this trip because we’re pulling out all the stops to create what will surely be a unique art experience. To learn more, visit FineArtTrip.com or for questions, contact our travel partner, Gabriel Haigazian, at [email protected] com or 818.444.2700.
I hope to see you this October for another memorable adventure with Fine Art Connoisseur.