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The best art exhibitions of summer 2022

What to see in the UK this summer: from a famous Picasso portrait to an exploded garden shed.

By Michael Prodger

After two years of cancellations and postponements in the art world, there is an abundance of exhibitions on offer this summer. Here are some of the highlights on display around the UK – including both a famous Picasso portrait and an exploded garden shed.

True to Nature: Open-air Painting 1780-1870

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, until 29 August

A sun-filled and breezy selection of small, choice works by artists from John Constable to Edgar Degas – and a host of lesser-knowns – who took their easels outdoors.

Reframed: The Woman at the Window

Dulwich Picture Gallery, until 4 September

This thoughtful show examines a motif that is familiar from Vermeer onwards and brings the pensive female figure lit from within up to date with modern variations.

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Posing with my Parrot, 2021 by Ajarb Bernard Ategwa © Ajarb Bernard Ategwa / Jack Bell Gallery 

Cornelia Parker

Tate Britain, until 16 October

A haunting retrospective of the work of Cornelia Parker, who has found poetry in defamiliarising familiar objects – from an exploded garden shed, to squashed brass instruments hung like chandeliers.

Edvard Munch: Masterpieces from Bergen

Courtauld Gallery, until 5 September 2022

To see a gathering of more than 20 pictures by the Norwegian master of existentialist angst is a rare treat. Together they reveal an artist of stylistic and psychological range.

Summer Exhibition

Royal Academy, until 21 August

After a missing pandemic year and one autumn iteration, the annual jamboree has returned. What hasn’t changed it what’s on offer – a head-filling mix of genres, sizes and mediums from professional and amateur artists.

Photo by David Parry/ Royal Academy of Arts

Picasso-Ingres: Face to Face

National Gallery, until 9 October

A two-painting show that contrasts Picasso’s 1932 Woman with a Book with Ingres’s bravura mid-19th-century portrait of Madame Moitessier and tests Picasso’s estimation of himself as a modern old master.

Nature and the Ideal: Pioneers of British Landscape

Bishop Trevor Gallery at Auckland Castle, until 2 October

A toothsome collection of work by the Georgian painters who established the British tradition of landscape painting – George Stubbs, Thomas Gainsborough, Richard Wilson et al.

Milton Avery: American Colourist

Royal Academy, until 16 October

The first solo exhibition of the abstract expressionists’ mentor to be held in this country. Avery was a prolific purveyor of pictures that simplified forms and filled them with saturated colour.

Milton Avery, Husband and Wife, 1945. Photo by Allen Phillips/Wadsworth Atheneum 
© 2022 Milton Avery Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London 2022

The Future Belongs To What Was As Much As What Is, Morag Myerscough

Hadrian’s Wall, until 30 October

Myerscough was commissioned by English Heritage to rebuild the north gatehouse of Housesteads Roman Fort on Hadrian’s Wall. Her recreation offers a joyous 8.5 metre-high spot of colour on the Northumbrian landscape.

Morag Myerscough with her installation on the remains of a Roman structure in Northumberland. Photo by Mark Pinder / Guardian / eyevine

A Taste for Impressionism: Modern French Art from Millet to Matisse

Royal Scottish Academy, until 13 November

Thanks to daring early 20th-century collectors, Scotland has particularly rich holdings of French art and some of the best examples – by Degas, Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet and their peers – are on display in this gem-like show.

[See also: How Patrick Nasmyth brought Dutch mastery to Scottish art]

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