Blockbusters: Mass Appeal

While it's great to take the road less traveled, especially during the summer months, there are always a number of exhibits that are well worth their wait in line. Here are our top picks for the season's best and biggest draws:

"Claude Monet: Fields in Spring " At the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, through Sept. 24. Monet? French fields in springtime? Forty paintings from 30 collections? What more could you possibly want?

"Modigliani and His Models " At London's Royal Academy of Arts, July 8-Oct. 15. The academy says the exhibition concentrates on the artist's "enduring fascination with the human form and physiognomy." We'll just call it beautiful and sexy.

"Caspar David Friedrich" At Essen's Museum Folkwang, through Aug. 20. A staggering 80 paintings and more than 100 works on paper by the painter (1774-1840) who, if he didn't exactly invent romanticism, gave us those sufferings-of-young-Werther images of lonely lovers staring out to sea.

"Where Are We Going? Selections From the Francois Pinault Collection" At the Palazzo Grassi in Venice, through Oct. 1. A double dose of contemporanea: significant works by Damien Hirst, Donald Judd, Olafur Eliasson and others, in a great setting newly renovated by the elegant, minimalist Japanese architect Tadao Ando.

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