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Pop, Minimal, and Figurative Art: The Fisher Collection exhibition at SFMOMA - © Iwan Baan / Courtesy SFMOMA

Favorite Museums & Art Galleries 2017

January 2017 Hideaway Report | By Andrew Harper

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Special Recognition Award Winners

Mr. Harper's favorites from the past year of travel

In every place I travel, I try to take in an art exhibition or two. Some museums I visited this year were world-class affairs that had seen hundreds of millions of dollars in renovations, while others were charming galleries specializing in works that reflected the local culture. Here are seven that were outstanding.

Inuit Gallery

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Collection of sculptures at Inuit Gallery of Vancouver Photo by Andrew Harper

Vancouver has numerous galleries specializing in First Nations art and crafts, but the selection at Inuit Gallery is especially captivating. Its owner has an eye for quality, displaying only the most exquisite sculptures and masks, and gallery employees seem to know each piece intimately and are happy to explain the story of a work. Our visit was absolutely fascinating.

Inuit Gallery
206 Cambie Street. Tel. (604) 688-7323

Olga Fisch Folklore

Quito, Ecuador

Colorful assortment of wall hangings and tapestries at Olga Fisch Folklore Photo by Andrew Harper

Textile artist Olga Fisch emigrated from Hungary to Ecuador in 1939, and there she became renowned for her gorgeous abstract tapestries and rugs. This Quito gallery still carries some of her original pieces, and her museum-quality wall hangings appear innovative even now.

Olga Fisch Folklore
Av. Colon E10-53 y Caamaño. Tel. (593) 2-254-1315

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

San Francisco, CA

The Campaign for Art: Modern and Contemporary exhibition at SFMOMA © Iwan Baan / Courtesy SFMOMA

Reopened in May 2016 after a three-year, $305 million renovation, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) features a fresh, cutting-edge design and houses a vast collection of creative contemporary works in all mediums. A new 235,000-square-foot annex has more than doubled the museum’s exhibition space. The SFMOMA has revitalized the art world in the Bay Area, and with educational opportunities and workshops for children, interactive displays, galleries free to the public and a gourmet restaurant, In Situ, the museum is now a must-see attraction on any visit to San Francisco.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 3rd Street, San Francisco. Tel. (415) 357-4000

American Museum of Fly Fishing

Manchester, VT

Exhibit at the American Museum of Fly Fishing

Located close to the Orvis flagship store, this museum collects, conserves and exhibits the largest group of angling-related items in the world. Exhibits depict the developments of fly-fishing over the centuries and celebrate it not just as a sport but as an art. Displays of reels, showing how they evolved over the years, are utterly fascinating, as are the superbly mounted displays of flies. Also of interest is a collection of equipment used by U.S. presidents John Adams, Dwight D. Eisenhower and George H. W. Bush. Even if your interest in fly-fishing is casual, I highly recommend this charming, well-presented museum.

American Museum of Fly Fishing
4070 Main Street, Manchester. Tel. (802) 362-3300

Harvard Art Museums

Cambridge, MA

Aboriginal paintings and sculptures from Australia on display at the Harvard Art Museums Photo by Andrew Harper

In late 2014, three of Harvard’s notable museums were brought together in a beautiful new facility designed by Renzo Piano. One striking glass roof now unites the collections of the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum. We spent a wonderful morning exploring the assembled riches, taking time to admire the Impressionist holdings in particular. Highlights from the Busch-Reisinger Museum include remarkable works of German art, while the Sackler Museum contributes an unusually deep Asian art collection. We meandered with no set purpose. Depth and diversity are why I love museums such as this — for their unexpected pleasures, and not just the obvious masterpieces.

Harvard Art Museums
32 Quincy Street, Cambridge. Tel. (617) 495-9400

K. S. Lo Gallery

Hong Kong, China

“Oval Seal With Four Incised Characters,” carved by Jin Nong in the 18th century using Qingtian stone at K.S. Lo Gallery © Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware and K.S. Lo Gallery

Close to the Flagstaff House, this gallery contains an extraordinary collection of Chinese name seals, or “chops,” donated by a foundation established by Dr. Lo Kwee-Seong. Chops serve in China and other Asian cultures as signatures, but as they are topped with intricately carved figures, they are also regarded as minor works of art. This collection comprises seals from the Ming Dynasty to the 20th century and includes works carved by famous Qing artists such as the Eight Masters of Xiling. The most remarkable piece in the collection is a stone seal carved by Cheng Sui (1607-1692) of the late Ming and early Qing periods.

K. S. Lo Gallery
10 Cotton Tree Drive. Tel. (852) 2869-0690

Shelburne Museum

Shelburne, VT

“Round Barn” at the Shelburne Museum Photo by Andrew Harper

The Shelburne Museum was founded in 1947 by Electra Havemeyer Webb, a pioneer in the appreciation of American folk art. While she initially focused on gathering paintings, quilts, textiles and furniture, Webb also assembled tableware, waterfowl decoys, carriages and other artifacts from daily life. In addition, she put together a remarkable assortment of original structures that include a meetinghouse, a lighthouse and the “Round Barn,” all of which are spread across 45 acres in a townlike setting. Most unexpected is the Arnold Circus Parade, a 500-foot-long assemblage of figurines depicting the animals, clowns and wagons that would have been part of an old-time circus. Webb accurately described the Shelburne Museum as a “collection of collections.”

Shelburne Museum
6000 Shelburne Road, Shelburne. Tel. (802) 985-3346

Andrew Harper Photo Andrew Harper is the editor of the Hideaway Report, a luxury travel newsletter that first appeared in 1979. He travels anonymously and pays his own expenses in pursuit of unique properties that offer unusually high levels of personal service. Hotels have no idea who he is, so he is treated exactly as you might be.

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