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Ten major art anniversaries to look out for in 2017

26 December 2016

Centenary of Auguste Rodin’s death

The Grand Palais, in collaboration with the Musée Rodin, will host a major exhibition of Rodin’s work exploring the artist’s influence and legacy through the eyes of his contemporaries. Slightly closer to home, the Courtauld Gallery is also marking the centenary with ‘Rodin and Dance: The Essence of Movement’, until 22 January.

Centenary of Edgar Degas’ death

Degas’ centenary commemorations have kicked off already at The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, which is currently showing ‘Degas: A New Vision’ until 16 January. The Fitzwilliam Museum is also planning an exhibition of his work for late next year (3 October–14 January 2018). Meanwhile, the Von der Heydt Museum in Germany is efficiently hosting a special display, ‘Degas & Rodin: Giants of Modernity’ that brings both artists’ work together until 26 February 2017.

Orchestra Musicians (Musiciens à l'Orchestre), (1872), Edgar Degas

Orchestra Musicians (Musiciens à l’Orchestre) (1872), Edgar Degas

150 years since Frank Lloyd Wright was born

The man behind the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, one of the most iconic examples of 20th-century modern architecture, will be the subject of a major exhibition at the nearby Museum of Modern Art from 12 June to 1 October. Presenting around 450 works from the 1890s to the 1950s, it will critically re-examine the work of the prolific architect and writer.

400 years since Bartolomé Esteban Murillo was born

Murillo’s hometown of Seville, where he also began his studies in art, will celebrate the renowned Baroque painter with a year-long programme of events. ‘Año Murillo’ will include exhibitions about the artist and his disciples at the Seville Museum of Fine Arts and the Santa Clara Centre, as well as a number of public events and festivals. In New York, the Frick Collection is curating an exhibition of the artist’s intriguing self-portraits, opening in November.

The Adoration of the Shepherds

The Adoration of the Shepherds (c. 1660), Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Centenary of Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain

Duchamp’s iconic ‘readymade’ is regarded as a landmark in the history of conceptual art and Dadaism. The influential artist will be honoured alongside Spanish surrealist Dalí at the Royal Academy in London (7 October–3 January 2018), and as part of Hull’s 2017 City of Culture programme in a project which also marks the 200th anniversary of British ceramic manufacturers Armitage Shanks.

500 years since the publication of Martin Luther’s 95 theses

Seen as the catalyst for the Protestant Reformation, Luther’s 95 theses are one of the most important pieces of Renaissance theological writing. Talks, symposia and exhibitions take place across Germany throughout the year. January will also be the public’s last chance to view the Luther Exhibitions USA 2016 projects at the Morgan Library and Museum (until 22 January), the Pitts Theology Library (until 16 January), and the Minneapolis Institute of Art (until 15 January). For more on the role Lucas Cranach played in spreading Luther’s ideas, click here.

Martin Luther as a Monk

Martin Luther as a Monk (1520), Lucas Cranach. © Luther Memorials Foundation of Saxony-Anhalt

200 years since George Frederic Watts was born

Watts 200 at the Watts Gallery will feature three major exhibitions focusing on the life, works and legacy of the British painter, sculptor and draughtsman. This special programme will include ‘A Life in Art: G. F. Watts 1817–1904’ (showcasing the artist’s drawings; 28 February–5 November), ‘G. F. Watts: England’s Michelangelo’ (a display of his ‘most important works’; 20 June–26 November) and ‘Monumental Murals’, featuring a fragment of his large composition Apollo and Diana for 7 Carlton House Terrace in London, which has never before been exhibited in public.

Centenary of Sidney Nolan’s birth

The UK hosts an extensive program of exhibitions in honour of what would have been Sidney Nolan’s 100th birthday. One of Australia’s most prolific and successful 20th-century artists, Nolan’s diverse oeuvre will be on display at: Pallant House, Chichester (18 February–14 June); Australia House, London (21 April–5 May); Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (14 June–3 September) and the British Museum, London in October.

The Old Oak's Fallen, (1977), Sidney Nolan.

The Old Oak’s Fallen (1977), Sidney Nolan. Courtesy of the Sidney Nolan Trust

150 years since Käthe Kollwitz was born

The Ikon Gallery’s 2017 exhibition programme also includes a solo exhibition of the work of German artist, Käthe Kollwitz (13 September–26 November). It includes 40 works on loan from a number of notable public collections, including the British Museum.

2,000 years since Ovid’s death

Ovid, the Roman poet whose legacy has inspired countless authors since his death around 2,000 years ago, will be the subject of a range of academic conferences and talks, ,including events at the Guangqi International Centre for Scholars of Shanghai Normal University (31 May–2 June), and the American Academy in Rome (9 March). His most famous work has also inspired an exhibition at the Wallace Collection, ‘Tales from Ovid’s Metamorphoses’ (19 January–2 April).