Manhattan's Metropolitan Museum of Art takes center stage this fall season. Its promising exhibitions include the highly anticipated “Bernini: Sculpting in Clay” (Oct. 3- Jan. 6), including “Model for the Lion on the Four Rivers Fountain” (c. 1649-50). Composed of about 50 masterly terra-cotta models and about 30 drawings by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680), it will bring us closer to the mind, eye and workshop of the greatest of Italian Baroque sculptors.
Among other must-see exhibitions is Met's “Matisse: In Search of True Painting” (Dec. 4-March 17). The show highlights the artist's dialogue with his own earlier works and focuses on repeated images and themes executed in pairs, trios and series.
Info: $25, 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org
Also eagerly awaited is the Museum of Modern Art's focused survey “Inventing Abstraction, 1910-1925" (Dec. 23-April 15), which includes “Synchromy in Orange: To Form” (1913-1914) by Morgan Russell. “Inventing Abstraction” explores the nascent years of European Modernist abstraction, including Robert Delaunay, Kandinsky and Mondrian. With its superb collection from this period, MoMA is the best museum for the job.
Not to be outdone, the Guggenheim Museum is bringing us a show of the other Modern titan, “Picasso Black and White” (Oct. 5-Jan. 23), including his 1957 work “The Maids of Honor (Las Meninas, after Velazquez)."
Picasso, especially when compared with Matisse, is often considered primarily a draftsman, or graphic artist. This 110-work survey of paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures exploring Picasso's grisailles will remind us that the Spaniard was one of the 20th century's most inventive colorists.
The Frick will present a single portrait -- Vincent van Gogh's 1888 “Portrait of a Peasant (Patience Escalier)" -- of a man wearing a turquoise smock and brilliant-yellow straw hat, shining within a blue field. What business does a van Gogh have in the Frick? Who cares? On loan from the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, Calif., the stridently colorful work from 1888 was painted when van Gogh was at the height of his powers.
The Frick also has the stupendous loan exhibition “Mantegna to Matisse: Master Drawings from The Courtauld Gallery” (Oct. 2-Jan. 27). This show from London includes works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Rubens, Seurat, van Gogh and Watteau. Paul Cézanne's “Apples, Bottle and Chairback” (c. 1904 to 6) graphite and watercolor on woven paper is part of the exhibit as well. Coups for the Frick, these two shows will bring visitors in droves.
Info: $18, 212-288-0700, frick.org
The Met's surefire blockbuster, “Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years,” runs Sept. 18-Dec. 31. The show takes stock of the pop artist's continuing influence on contemporary art.