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Carolyn Karbin

Chicago, Illinois Travel Agent

Art in Focus

As an art major in college, I have always viewed destinations through the lenses of their artists. Even non-artists can draw wonderful insights into the cultures and communities they visit from the paintings, sculptures and other works of the artists who lived and worked there. Increasingly, museums around the world are offering excellent audio and group tours in English, often as part of the admission fee, and for those with a special interest, I often arrange a private guide.

MEXICO CITY

The first trip I took with an expressly art purpose was to see the work of Frida Kahlo in Mexico City. I’d long been fascinated by her work, her life and her relationship to Diego Rivera. We went to Casa Azul, the house where she was born, lived after she and Diego were divorced and died. 

We also visited the Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo. It was designed to suite their lifestyle and consisted of two separate houses connected by a sky bridge, which  speaks volumes about their need for separation as well as connection. 

The third place we visited was the Palacio Nacional, which displays Diego Rivera’s most famous murals. There are several more sites we could have visited, but I preferred to concentrate on fewer places and also leave some time for stroll through Chapultepec Park and the grand Paseo de la Reforma and explore a few of the pretty neighborhoods.

AMSTERDAM

Amsterdam was another place where a famous artist called to me. The Van Gogh Museum, which has the largest collection of his works, along with the works of his contemporaries, was a must for me. I was even more impressed with the nearby national museum, the Rijksmuseum, with famous works by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer and other Dutch greats. On my next visit, I want to go to Rembrandt’s House, now a museum where you can see his studio and learn about his techniques along with viewing some of his works. 

Most major cities have more museums than you could visit comfortably in a month, so as in all travel, my philosophy is to not over-program yourself. If you try to see too much, it all becomes a blur. I try to help my clients select the specific museums and artists they are most interested in, and provide the perspective and guidance so they can truly appreciate them. 

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