On view

Surreal Magritte to splended Venice to the great Velázquez

René Magritte’s oil painting “Not to Be Reproduced” (1937) from the Magritte show up now at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
René Magritte’s oil painting “Not to Be Reproduced” (1937) from the Magritte show up now at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

“Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938”

Museum of Modern Art

New York

Through Jan. 12

During the years between the wars, Surrealism took the art world by storm. Perhaps no artist in that style made a more enduring impression than René Magritte. Magritte sought, as he put it, to “challenge the real world.” His canvases are at once so straightforward and legible — yet so perplexing and mysterious. That inherent paradoxicality has fascinated people ever since. On display are some 80 paintings, collages, and objects, as well as photographs, magazines, and examples of Magritte’s early commercial art. 11 West 53d St., 212-708-9400,

“At the Window: The Photographer’s View”

Getty Museum

Los Angeles

Through Jan. 5

A photograph is a window on the world, and windows have long drawn photographers as a subject. Some 52 examples of such images are included here. Artists represented include Edward Weston, Walker Evans, Robert Mapplethorpe, and William Eggleston. 1200 Getty Center Drive, 310-440-7330,

“Fernand Léger and the Modern City”

Philadelphia Museum of Art


Through Jan. 5

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During the 1920s Léger forged a new relationship between modern art and urban life, which is the subject of this extensive survey. It features more than 120 works, by both Léger and such contemporaries as Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Theo van Doesburg, Le Corbusier, Piet Mondrian, and Man Ray. 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 215-763-8100,

“Facing the Modern: The Portrait in Vienna 1900”

National Gallery


Through Jan. 12

The final decade of the 19th century and first two decades of the 20th witnessed a revolution in portraiture. As this exhibition amply demonstrates, the Viennese painters Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Oskar Koskoschka were major contributors. Trafalgar Square, 011-44-20-7747-2885,

“Edward Burtynsky: Water”

New Orleans Museum of Art/Contemporary Arts Center

Through Jan. 19

This Canadian photographer documents the intersection between natural beauty and the unnatural effects of human society. The 60 large-scale color images show what mankind has been doing to the planet’s largest and most important resource. 1 Collins C. Diboll Circle, 504-658-4100,

“Splendore a Venezia: Art and Music from the Renaissance to Baroque in the Serenissima”

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Through Jan. 19

This groundbreaking exhibition is the first of its kind. Starting in the early 16th century and extending to the end of the 18th, it examines the relationship between painting and music in Venice during the republic’s heyday. 1380 Sherbrooke St. West, 514-285-2000,

“David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition”

de Young Museum

San Francisco

Through Jan. 20


A very-wide-ranging look at Hockney’s work over the past decade, it includes paintings, digital films, landscapes made on the artist’s iPad, and previously unexhibited charcoal drawings. 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, 415-750-3600,

“Erwin Blumenfeld”

Jeu de Paume


Through Jan. 26

This very large retrospective (more than 300 works, including drawings and prints as well as photographs) shows how Blumenfeld developed into one of the most important figures in the history of fashion photography. 1 place de la Concorde, 011-33-1-47-03-12-50,

“Damage Control: Art andDestruction Since 1950”

Hirshhorn Museum

and Sculpture Garden

Washington, D.C.

Through Feb. 9

World War II and the prospect of nuclear annihilation fostered a new cultural sensibility. This wide-ranging survey of art of the past six decades looks at a notable form that sensibility took: a fascination with the interplay of creativity and destruction. 7th Street and Independence Avenue SW, 202-633-1000,

“Velázquez and the Family of Philip IV”

Prado Museum


Through Feb. 9

There may be painters as great as Diego Velázquez (Titian? Rembrandt?), but none greater. So this gathering of 17 of his portraits, along with another dozen by contemporaries, can hardly be bettered as a demonstration of the virtues of quality over quantity. Calle Ruiz de Alarcón 23, 011-34-91-330-2800,

Mark Feeney can be reached at