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This summer promises to be hot, and I'm not talking about the temperature. Looking at the bulging files containing information about the upcoming museum exhibitions, I'm simply salivating. Here are the highlights:

Modigliani LACMA has two top-drawer choices. Let's start with "Modigliani & the Artists of Montparnasse", Modigliani the first major exhibition of the artist in the United States in more than forty years. It features approximately 50 paintings, sculptures and drawings by Modigliani himself, along with works by his contemporaries including Marc Chagall, Fernand L-ger, Matisse, Soutine, Picasso, Rivera and others. The show opens June 29 and runs through September 28.

Matisse The second LACMA offering is 76 masterpieces from the State Pushkin Museum in Moscow that encompasses 250 years in the history of French painting from Nicolas Poussin to Jacques-Louis David, to Cezanne, van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse and Picasso to name a few. Van Gogh Many of these works have never been seen in the United States before. Once upon a time, these impressionist and post-impressionist paintings, now belonging to the museum in Moscow, were part of a huge collection put together at the end of the 19th, beginning of the 20th century, by two enlightened merchants from Moscow, Ivan Morosov and Sergei Shchukin, who were among the first serious European collectors of the French avant garde art.Van Gogh After the Revolution their collections were taken away from them by the State and subsequently divided between the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and the State Pushkin Museum in Moscow. The exhibition opens on July 27 and runs through October 13. So for the two months of August and September, "Modigliani & the Artists of Montparnasse" will coincide with the French treasures from Moscow. If this double-bill of French culture will not restore our good feelings toward France, which obviously has been at a low ebb the last few months, I don't know what will.

The San Diego Museum of Art is making, this summer, its own contribution toward restoring US-French relations. The exhibition of 73 bronze sculptures by Degas, along with his drawings, paintings and photographs, will open on June 28 and runs through September 28, after which it travels to San Francisco.

Chagall And talking about the Bay Area, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will be the sole venue outside Paris for a major retrospective of works by Marc Chagall with more than 60 paintings and close to 90 works on paper, many never before seen in the United States. It runs from July 26 through November 4.

Philip Guston If you are a smart traveler, you'll try to catch another show at the same museum, the retrospective or works by one of the most original of the American artists of the 20th century, Philip Guston, one of my absolute favorites. It includes more than 100 paintings and drawings covering a period from the 1930s to 1980, the year of his death. This show runs from June 28 to September 28.

LibermanThe Getty has a whole variety of shows to look forward to this summer. But I predict that the public's favorite will be the exhibition of rare photographs of artists in their studios done by Alexander Liberman, who for 50 years worked as director of Vogue magazine and editorial director of Cond- Nast publications. Himself a good sculptor, Liberman had rare insight into other famous artists' psyches, many of whom, like Picasso and Matisse, were his good friends, which contributed a lot to the success of his photographic portraits.

So the hot months of summer will be tempered by a number of cool exhibitions.

"Modigliani & the Artists of Montparnasse"
June 29 - September 28, 2003
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 857-6000

"Old Masters, Impressionists, and Moderns: French Masterworks from the State Pushkin Museum, Moscow"
July 27 - October 13, 2003
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 857-6010

"Degas in Bronze: The Complete Sculptures"
June 28 - September 28, 2003
San Diego Museum of Art
1450 El Prado, Balboa Park
San Diego, CA 92102
(619) 232-7931

Marc Chagall
July 26 - November 4, 2003
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street (between Mission and Howard Streets)
San Francisco, CA 94103-3159
(415) 357-4000

Philip Guston Retrospective
June 28 - September 28, 2003
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street (between Mission and Howard Streets)
San Francisco, CA 94103-3159
(415) 357-4000

"Photographs of Artists by Alexander Liberman"
July 22 - October 19, 2003
Getty Research Institute Exhibition Gallery>
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049-1679
(310) 440-7300

Edward Goldman is the host of Art Talk, a program on art and culture for NPR affiliate KCRW 89.9 FM.

Please send your comments to: edwardgoldman@earthlink.net


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