Letters, spaces, a tragic tale

The Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building is the Philadelphia Museum of Art's first expansion in its 80 years. The Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building is the Philadelphia Museum of Art's first expansion in its 80 years. (AP Photo / Matt Rourke)
Email|Print| Text size + By Mark Feeney
Globe Correspondent / October 7, 2007

'Painted with Words: Vincent van Gogh's Letters to Émile Bernard'

The Morgan Library & Museum

NEW YORK Through Jan. 6

Between 1887 and 1889, van Gogh carried on a correspondence with Bernard, a younger painter, in which he offered criticism, counsel, and encouragement. Van Gogh illustrated his thoughts on art with a dozen drawings interspersed among the writing. Twenty of the letters are on display at the Morgan Library, exhibited for the first time. Also on display are more than 20 paintings, drawings, and watercolors by van Gogh and Bernard.

225 Madison Ave. at 36th St., 212-685-0008,

Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Last month, the Philadelphia Museum of Art opened its first expanded space in 80 years. Housed in a onetime insurance company headquarters across the street from the main museum building, the Art Deco structure houses galleries for prints, drawings, and photographs; costumes and textiles; and modern and contemporary design. The project, which took three years to complete and cost $90 million, adds more than 170,000 square feet to the museum. For those traveling to the museum before Jan. 6, the headline exhibition is "Renoir Landscapes," whose gathering of paintings by the Impressionist master drew crowds when mounted at London's National Gallery last spring.

26th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 215-763-8100,


G ielgud Theatre

LONDON Through Nov. 24

Theater people call "Macbeth" the "Scottish play," for to speak its name is supposedly to invite disaster. Shakespeare's tragedy is reputed to be jinxed and, indeed, has been the undoing of many a great actor. If anyone can stand up to the burdens of Birnam Wood and the three witches, it is surely Patrick Stewart, who besides his roles as Captain Jean-Luc Picard on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," on television, and Professor Charles Xavier in the "X-Men" series, on film, he's played several of Shakespeare's greatest characters on stage: Prospero, in "The Tempest," the title role in "Othello," and Shylock, in "The Merchant of Venice."

Shaftesbury Avenue, 011-44-870 950 0915,

'J.M.W. Turner'

National Gallery of Art

WASHINGTON Through Jan. 6

The poet Alfred Tennyson called J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) "the Shakespeare of landscape." One of the greatest of all colorists, Turner brought painting to the verge of abstraction, very nearly bridging the gap between late Romanticism and early Modernism. For all that his work has always been popular, it has an experimental, even visionary aspect that has made Turner a revered figure among artists. This exhibition, which comprises some 145 paintings and watercolors, is the largest US retrospective of his work.

Constitution Avenue NW between 3d and 9th streets, 202-737-4215, nga.govall.

City of Architecture and Heritage


Paris's newest art museum is devoted to French building, from 12th-century cathedrals to contemporary designs. The City of Architecture and Heritage museum, which opened last month, occupies a prime location: a wing of the Chaillot Palace, overlooking the Eiffel Tower. The museum, the world's largest devoted solely to architecture, has been 13 years in the making and cost $114 million. Its three main galleries comprise nearly 90,000 square feet of exhibition space. One gallery holds some 350 plaster models of church architecture. Another offers medieval and Renaissance paintings and frescoes devoted to buildings. The third focuses on modern architecture.

1 Place du Trocadero et du 11 Novembre, 011-33-1-58-51-5200 (fax number for tickets),

Events sometimes are canceled, rescheduled, or sold out; call or check online to confirm. Mark Feeney can be reached at

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