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Could London's leading museums be going for a kind of "Old Master Sensation" to kick off the fall season? A ridiculous idea, to be sure, but in this age of marketing before all else, consider three new shows on the schedule in coming months.

First up is "Rembrandt's Women" at the Royal Academy of Arts, Sept. 22-Dec. 16, 2001, featuring over 100 works, including 27 paintings, that chronologically survey the Renaissance master's realist portraits of his wife and mistress -- works that were, after all, a source of outrage at the time. As the museum happily boasts, Rembrandt's corpus includes paintings of beautiful girls and wizened old women, dramatic biblical and mythological heroines, domestic scenes, and studies of the female nude and even erotic prints. The exhibition is currently on view at the National Gallery of Scotland, June 8-Sept. 2, 2001 (check out the interesting website at The show was organized by Julia Lloyd Williams, senior curator at the NGS.

Over at the National Portrait Gallery in London, meanwhile, is "Painted Ladies: Women at the Court of Charles II, 1660-1685," Oct. 11, 2001-Jan. 6, 2002. Reveling in "splendor, excess, exuberance and glamour," the exhibition features over 100 of the "most beautiful and intriguing portraits" from the era. The show, which is co-curated by Catharine MacLeod and Julia Marciari Alexander, appears over here at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Jan. 25-Mar. 17, 2002.

If this isn't racy enough for you, how about "Exposed: The Victorian Nude," which opens at Tate Britain, Nov. 1, 2001-Jan. 13, 2001. Brainchild of Tate Britain senior curator Alison Smith, author of The Victorian Nude: Sexuality, Morality and Art, the show features bubbling-below-the-surface Victorian erotica by John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent, as well as works by Walter Sickert, Gwen John and several less known artists. The exhibition, which includes popular illustration, photos and film as well as high-art nudes, is slated to travel, and comes to the Brooklyn Museum of Art next year, Sept. 2, 2002-Jan. 5, 2003.

Those British, they're getting so ... French.

The Cleveland Museum is using the normally halcyon final week in August to debut "French Master Drawings from the Collection of Muriel Butkin," Aug. 26-OPct. 28, 2001. The show features 59 18th- and 19th-century drawings from about 450 works assembled by the Cleveland native, who with her late husband, Noah, has been a longtime patron of the museum. Highlights include Head of a Young Woman (ca. 1785) by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Man Clutching a Horse in Water, after Poussin's "Deluge" (ca. 1816) by Théodore Géricault and Study for the Mother in "The Fisherman's Family" (ca. 1875) by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. Admission is free. The show subsequently appears at the Dahesh Museum of Art in New York, Feb. 19-May 18, 2002.

This weekend's art-world gala in the Hamptons is tonight's opening of "The Reality-Effect: Contemporary American Photography" at Guild Hall in East Hampton, Aug. 10, 2001. The Guild Hall benefit features cocktails and a preview of the exhibition at the museum, then dinner, a live auction conducted by Doyle New York, dessert and dancing at the home of artist Ross Bleckner. Artists in the auction include John Alexander, Jessica Craig-Martin, Eric Fischl, April Gornick, Cindy Sherman and many others. The 11 artists in the exhibition, which examines the relationship between the real and the virtual, include Aziz and Cucher, John Coplans, Gregory Crewdson, Nan Goldin, Andres Serrano and Jeff Wall. Benefit tickets begin at $600 and climb to $15,000; for info call Livet Reichard at (212) 344-8420.

Wave Hill, the 28-acre garden and gallery overlooking the Hudson River in the Bronx, unveils a new landscape installation by artist Willie Cole, Aug. 15-Oct. 15, 2001. Called Everything and Anything, the maze-like work incorporates 50 turnstiles set in the Wave Hill garden, with each revolving turnstile bar inscribed with a phrase that suggests a path through life. The project is part of a program called generated@wavehill, in which high school students work as assistants with the artist on his or her project. Also on view at Wave Hill's Glyndor Gallery is the group show "Verging on Real," which is still up for a few days until it closes on Aug. 19, 2001.

Summer fun for art lovers in Western Massachusetts as Geoffrey Young Gallery opens the group show, "August Confessions: Ask Me Now," Aug 17-Sept. 5, 2001. The title makes reference to St. Augustine and a Thelonius Monk tune, gallery proprietor Young told Artnet News, sotto voce. The show features works by Tom Burckhart, Sam Messer, Cary Smith, Laurie Simmons, James Welling and some 20 other artists. Location: 40 Railroad St., Great Barrington, Mass.; (413) 528-6210. Opening is 5:30-7:30 p.m. on the 17th.

Veteran New York art dealer Rosa Esman is opening an office at 1100 Madison Avenue. She has commissioned a series of six unique sculptures from Sol LeWitt and is working on an edition with photog Vik Muniz. For info call (212) 737-8944.

Quashelle Curtis has been named gallery director for Rush Arts Gallery, a five-year-old nonprofit located in the Chelsea Arts Building on West 26th Street in New York and sponsored by Russell Simmons' Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. Curtis was formerly a specialist in's online auction department.

The pop singer Madonna and her film director husband Guy Ritchie are reported to be buying the former home of photographer Cecil Beaton for £9 million, according to the News of the World in London. Ashcombe House, as the six-bedroom, mid-18th-century Georgian sporting estate is called, was Beaton's home in the 1930s and '40s. He reportedly paid £50 a month rent back then.

California art lovers are flocking to the exhibition, "E. Charlton Fortune, 1885-1969," Aug. 2-Sept. 5, 2001, at the Carmel Art Association in Carmel, Ca. The show features approximately 50 landscapes by the celebrated California Impressionist, who is celebrated as one of the pioneering women painters of the movement. The exhibition includes several works Fortune produced as a liturgical artist with the Monterey Guild, an organization devoted to ecclesiastical art that she founded in the 1930s. The catalogue of the show includes an introduction by American art historian William H. Gerdts and essays by Steve Hauk, Penny Perlmutter and Tina S. Flaherty. For more info, call (831) 624-6176.

Meanwhile, the New York Post reports that Sleepless in Seattle star Meg Ryan is moving to 420 West Broadway, former home to Leo Castelli, Ileana Sonnabend and John Weber. Ryan is said to have paid $9 million "to combine two 3,000-square-foot penthouse lofts."