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It's no secret that the Louvre is the world's premier art destination. But for art enthusiasts who have already seen everything it has to offer, it's time to explore something new. The following bucket list highlights the trendiest destinations to experience unparalleled world art.
Modern art lovers should consider visiting the newly remodeled Stedelijk Museum, which debuted its expansion in September 2012 after eight years of construction. A key feature of the re-opening is a major retrospective exhibit by American artist Mike Kelley.
In addition, the Stedelijk Museum now features a new wing that adds onto its vast collection of contemporary art, says Jim Bendt, president of Travel Beyond, an international travel consultancy in Wayzata, Minn. The museum's collection - one of the largest in Northern Europe - boasts almost 90,000 works of world art.
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And the Stedelijk Museum isn't the only museum that's been remodeled recently. Following a lengthy period of construction, the Rijksmuseum concluded its nearly 10-year renovation project and reopened in April 2013. The museum, which focuses on Dutch art from the Middle Ages to the present, as well as Asian art, will unveil renovated gardens and an Asian pavilion.
Rembrandt's "The Night Watch," a must-see for classical art lovers, will return to its coveted position in the middle of the museum. Most likely, this piece will not be loaned out to other museums because it's such a draw for the Rijksmuseum, Bendt says.
South Africa is home to numerous gifted artists, particularly in the areas of carving and sculpting. Art shops around Cape Town sell sculptures as small as baby hippos and as large as giraffes, Bendt says. He recommends Wilderness Touring's Peninsula Art Experience, a full-day tour that takes clients to visit tribal artifacts, private art collections and antiques.
Ellerman House, a lavish hotel in Bantry Bay, Cape Town, stands out from other accommodations in the area because of its appreciation for local art. The hotel's Ellerman House art collection spotlights local artwork and can arrange for patrons to meet the artists. "The owner is an aficionado, and he has amassed one of the best private art collections in the world," Bendt says.
"China is up and coming as far as art destinations go," says Alyssa Schulke, owner of Schulke Travel, a custom international travel consultancy in St. Paul, Minn. "Pieces that were just selling for a few thousand dollars are now selling for a million plus."
Schulke recommends the nine-night contemporary art tour by Imperial Tours, which includes visits to galleries and artists' private studios, meetings with China's most famous gallery owners and talks by experts.
Art districts, especially ones with an emphasis on contemporary art, have started to develop, especially in Shanghai. The city of Guilin is known for modern and sculpture art, as well as the HOMA Chateau, a hotel whose modern architecture makes it an art destination in itself, Schulke says. The chateau is housed in Yuzi Paradise, an art park of sprawling grounds that blend nature and art.
As art lovers peruse the works of great artists in any country, they can minimize the costs of paying for artwork, tours, mementoes and some of the other costs incurred during a once-in-a-lifetime trip by using a trusted online foreign exchange service. And since bank-to-bank money transfers can be initiated by mobile devices in more than 100 foreign currencies, art lovers' purchases won't be limited when they visit exotic locales.
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