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Rediscover Famous Artists In These 3 Cities

Rediscover Famous Artists In These 3 Cities

Take A Tour Through Rembrandt’S Amsterdam, Yayoi Kusama’S Tokyo, And David Hockney’S Los Angeles

Countless art lovers are captivated by the enigmatic artists Rembrandt van Rijn, Yayoi Kusama, and David Hockney. To cut through the mystery and gain an appreciation and understanding of these masters, one must visit the cities that nurtured their talents. Each city is a joy to visit in its own right; add in these stops and you’ll come away with a newfound artistic education covering some of the art world’s biggest names.

Lifelong devotees make pilgrimages to the following destinations to further develop their appreciation of their favorite artists:

Rembrandt’s Amsterdam

Rembrandt, who was born in 1606 in Leiden, went on to spend most of his career in Amsterdam. After first achieving success as a portrait painter, he and his wife, Saskia van Uylenburgh, moved into a stately home in the city, which has been transformed into the Museum het Rembrandthuis (Rembrandt House Museum). The house, which has been reconstructed to show how it would have looked in Rembrandt’s days, is attached to a modern building that displays a treasure trove of his works.

The most notable collection of Rembrandt’s work can be found at Amsterdam’s beloved Rijksmuseum, where crowds regularly gather to revel in the presence of De Nachtwacht (The Night Watch) and Het Joodse Bruidje (The Jewish Bride). De Nachtwacht, his most famous work, was actually painted on the first floor of what is now the Hotel NH Collection Amsterdam Doelen, one of the city’s oldest hotels.

Amsterdammers and visitors alike often flood the city’s Rembrandtplein—originally known as the Botermarkt (Butter Market) in 1668—to eat and drink the night away under the watchful eye of a cast-iron statue of Rembrandt.

The Oude Kerk (Old Church)—Amsterdam’s oldest building and oldest parish church, founded circa 1213—was the site of Rembrandt’s wedding to Saskia, who was later buried there.

Some 350 years after Rembrandt’s death, Amsterdam is brimming with his work. He was married at Oude Kerk, shown above
Some 350 years after Rembrandt’s death, Amsterdam is brimming with his work. He was married at Oude Kerk, shown above.

David Hockney’s Los Angeles

Though English by birth, education, and training, David Hockney is thought by some to be an adopted Angeleno. The illustrious painter, an important contributor to the pop art movement of the 1960s, is one of the most renowned contemporary British artists. He has lived in L.A. at various times since 1964.

Hockney’s best-known works date back to his arrival in the ’60s, when he used bold, ultra-saturated colors to portray the intense sunlight and inviting swimming pools of L.A. To recreate your own Hockney visual, stop by the Hollywood Roosevelt’s Tropicana Pool. In 1988, the artist painted the iconic pool mural. According to the hotel, Hockney spent around four hours one morning on the bottom of the empty pool with a can of blue paint and a mop, making circular brush strokes. When filled, the art seemingly comes to life, moving and dancing under the blue skies.

In 2019, the mural underwent a two-week restoration project, in which a team of professional art conservators restored the artwork to be enjoyed for decades to come.

Though associated closely with the City of Angels, Hockney’s works can be hard to find around town at museums and art galleries. L.A. Louver, a small gallery situated near Venice’s famous Muscle Beach, has been the landing spot for past Hockney exhibits in the city, and continues to carry a notable selection of American and European contemporary art. (The artist would often drop in to visit.) If no Hockney works are on exhibit, they’re likely to be on display at museums around the world.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has drawn Hockney devotees by displaying two of his most significant works: Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio (1980), and Woman in Fur (1978). The museum is currently closed for the construction—the David Geffen Galleries are scheduled to reopen in 2024.

Yayoi Kusama’s modern art museum in the suburbs of Tokyo.
Yayoi Kusama’s modern art museum in the suburbs of Tokyo

Yayoi Kusama’s Tokyo

Still forging ahead at age 90, multidisciplinary artist Yayoi Kusama may now be more popular than ever. The Instagram generation has discovered her kaleidoscopic infinity rooms, traveling from far and wide to queue up for hours to be immersed in her world of mirrors­.

A native of Nagano, Kusama is most associated with Tokyo, especially since the 2017 opening of the Yayoi Kusama Museum. Set in the city’s western suburbs, the white, five-floor building holds more than 600 of Kusama’s works, presented in two exhibitions each year, along with lectures and other events.

The Hollywood Roosevelt’s pool has a Hockney mural at the bottom
The Hollywood Roosevelt’s pool has a Hockney mural at the bottom.

Only 200 visitors are allowed to visit each day, based on timed, advance tickets. Visits are limited to 90 minutes, otherwise fans would spend all day engaging with Kusama’s psychedelic paintings and signature pumpkins—covered in tiles and polka dots, housed on a rooftop gallery—not to mention the thrilling infinity rooms. Kusama’s Omoide (Memory) piano can be found on the free, and very popular, South Observation Deck at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. The yellow grand piano, covered in polka dots, can be played by anyone for five minutes at a time.

Kusama fans are also keen to visit the National Museum of Modern Art, which holds many of her paintings and sculptures in its collection. The pieces, some of which date to 1950, are shown in rotation through the museum’s permanent collection.

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