The show that rocks Chicago

A 6-inch rose made of 2,637 Brazilian diamonds, crafted for Princess Mathilde, niece of Napoleon Bonaparte. A 6-inch rose made of 2,637 Brazilian diamonds, crafted for Princess Mathilde, niece of Napoleon Bonaparte.
By Mark Feeney
Globe Staff / January 24, 2010

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“The Nature of Diamonds’’: They’re a girl’s best friend, the king of gems, and truly on the cutting edge. Or at least the most fabulous product of the cutting edge. This Field Museum exhibition features more than 700 objects, tracing diamonds’ past and present, as well as the science of their making and their various cultural roles. Beginning in geology, the exhibition moves through mineralogy to art, fashion, and technology. The highlight of the show is “The Vault,’’ a treasure house displaying pieces owned by such famed wearers as Catherine the Great, Mae West, Joan Crawford, and Elton John. There are also such one-of-a-kind jewels as the 128.54-carat Tiffany Diamond, among the world’s biggest and most exquisite fancy yellow diamonds, and the Incomparable Diamond. Justifying the latter’s name are its being the largest flawless diamond graded by the Gemological Institute of America and the third-largest cut diamond ever recorded. 400 South Lake Shore Drive,312-922-9410,

JAN. 31-JULY 31


“From Impressionism to Modernism: The Chester Dale Collection’’: Dale, who made his fortune in the Wall Street bond market, left the National Gallery of Art an extraordinary bequest in 1962. It included one of the country’s richest collections of 19th- and early-20th-century paintings. The museum highlights those works in this exhibition, with 84 paintings by Corot, Manet, Renoir, Monet, Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse, and others. 4th and Constitution Avenue NW, 202-737-4215,



“A Record of Emotion: The Photographs of Frederick H. Evans’’: Evans (1853-1943) made some of the greatest architectural images in the history of photography. His pictures of English cathedrals were, he said, an attempt at “a record of an emotion.’’ Those photographs, along with rural English landscapes and portraits of Evans’s family and such contemporaries as Aubrey Beardsley and George Bernard Shaw, are in the show at the Getty Museum. 1200 Getty Center Drive, 310-440-7300,

FEB. 18-JUNE 6


“Irving Penn Portraits’’: Irving Penn (1917-2009) set a standard for portrait photography that remains unsurpassed. This National Portrait Gallery retrospective includes work from seven decades: 120 photographs of subjects ranging from Truman Capote and Christian Dior, to Alfred Hitchcock and Al Pacino. St. Martin’s Place, 011-44-20-7306-0055,

FEB. 24-APRIL 25


“Picasso and the Avant-Garde in Paris’’: This extensive Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibition looks at Picasso’s key role in driving artistic change in Paris, which was then the world capital of art, in the years between 1905 and 1945. More than just a great artist, he was greatly influential as well. The show is as much about Paris as Picasso, including work by such contemporaries of his as Marc Chagall, Jacques Lipchitz, Patrick Henry Bruce, and Man Ray. More than 100 items, including paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, will be on display. 26th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 215-763-8100,



“The Grateful Dead: Now Playing at the New-York Historical Society’’: Central Park West will be Deadhead Central throughout the spring and into the summer, as the New York Historical Society hosts this first extensive exhibition based on holdings from the Grateful Dead Archives at the University of California Santa Cruz. Items to be displayed include posters, album art, stage props, banners, documents, and fan mail. 170 Central Park West at 77th Street, 212-873-3400,



New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival: Hundreds of acts are scheduled to perform at this 41st version of America’s most jubilant annual musical gathering. They range from traditional jazz bands to Aretha Franklin and Anita Baker, Pearl Jam and Van Morrison. The big news is the reuniting of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel for their only announced US appearance this year. 504-410-4100, MARK FEENEY

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