Once past the first wave of familiar faces, a few less-celebrated but equally intriguing talents will present themselves, notably American precisionist painter Elsie Driggs and Colombian satirist Fernando Botero.
Herewith, the major art attractions from now through spring.
"Renoir Landscapes." We think of Renoir as a figure painter, but during the first 30 years of his career the master of the pneumatic nude also investigated nature, especially effects produced by natural light. This exhibition reveals a painter enchanted by bold color and energetic brushwork. At the Philadelphia Museum of Art beginning Oct. 4. 215-684-7500 or www.philamuseum.org.
"Degas and the Art of Japan," a major production for the Reading Public Museum, will reveal the extent to which the artist was influenced by Japanese art, especially block prints and fans. Pictures by Degas will be paired with Japanese images, some of which he owned, to demonstrate affinities. Opens Sept. 29. 610-371-5850 or www.readingpublicmuseum.org.
"Cecilia Beaux." A leading American portraitist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Beaux is one of Philadelphia's most accomplished painters. This retrospective of more than 85 works argues that she deserves a more prominent position in American art history. Opens at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Feb. 2. 215-972-7600 or www.pafa.org.
(In 1895, Philadelphia-born Cecelia Beaux became the first female instructor at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.)
"Frida Kahlo." The agony and the ecstasy of the fabled Mexican painter go on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Feb. 20. Since her death in 1954, Kahlo has become revered for her feminism, her deeply introspective and often disturbing images, and her fortitude in the face of medical disability.
Art makes noise. "Ensemble," which opened at the Institute of Contemporary Art Friday, refutes the notion that visual art is mute. Guest curator Christian Marclay, a musician, has brought together a variety of sculptures and installations, some of them visitor-activated, that produce sounds or music. 215-898-7108 or www.icaphila.org.
Fernando Botero. His paintings and sculptures of grotesquely inflated people aren't always taken seriously, but the Colombian-born artist is a serious critic of colonialism, social customs and political instability in Latin America. A traveling retrospective opens at the Delaware Art Museum March 15. 302-571-9590 or www.delart.org.
Elsie Driggs, who died in 1992, was a lesser-known, but not less-talented, member of the precisionist movement. These artists favored hard-edged renderings of industrial subjects such as factories and bridges. Driggs, who lived in Lambertville, N.J., is the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the James A. Michener Art Museum beginning Jan. 19. 215-340-9800 or www.michenerartmuseum.org.
"Ashcan Realist" John Sloan's views of New York City will go on view at the Delaware Art Museum Oct. 20 in an exhibition of paintings, drawings, prints and photographs. Befitting his socialist politics, "Sloan's New York" focuses on people and street life rather than architecture.
This season's treasure-chest special is "River of Gold" at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. This trove of precious pre-Columbian artifacts was excavated by a museum expedition to central Panama in 1940. The 120 gold objects include plaques, pendants and bells created more than a thousand years ago. 215-898-4000 or www.museum.upenn.edu.
The Charles Demuth Museum in Lancaster, the artist's hometown, is touring its collection for the first time. On Sept. 22, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts will open a show of more than 30 works that define the famed modernist's career, from childhood to late floral pieces.
Philip Pearlstein, a contemporary American realist, earned his considerable reputation with paintings of large-scale nudes in domestic settings. An exhibition opening Saturday at the Michener Art Museum will focus on works from the last 20 years.
Philadelphia printmakers. Graphic art flourished in the second quarter of the 20th century, especially in Philadelphia. "Angels, Alleys and Animal Acts," opening at Woodmere Art Museum Sept. 23, focuses on five influential local artists of the period - Julius Bloch, Benton Spruance, Robert Riggs, G. Ralph Smith, and Earl Horter. 215-247-0476 or www.woodmereartmuseum.org.
Still hungry? Here's another dozen shows worth considering:
"The Art of Lee Miller." First retrospective for the glamorous former model who became a famous photographer; opens at Philadelphia Museum of Art Jan. 26.
"Women to Watch: Photography in Philadelphia." A selection of new or recent work by five photographers: Alida Fish, Eileen Neff, Clarissa Sligh, Ruth Thorne-Thomsen and Deborah Willis. Opens at Moore College of Art & Design Oct. 27.
"Eileen Neff: Between Us." An exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art that features photographs from the last 10 years, including digital imagery and video. Through Dec. 16.
"Tiffany by Design." Beginning Oct. 7, the Allentown Art Museum will present 40 objects, mostly lamps, from the Louis Comfort Tiffany studio.
"Garry Knox Bennett: Call Me Chairmaker." An exhibition of 52 unique sculptural chairs by one of America's most imaginative makers of studio furniture. Opens June 28 at the Delaware Art Museum.
"Elihu Vedder and the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam." A show at the Brandywine River Museum, opening March 15, that examines an 1884 masterwork of book illustration by an American visionary. Includes major Vedder paintings related to his illustrations. 610-388-2700 or www.brandywinemuseum.org.
"Space Is the Place." International contemporary artists contemplate space exploration and the space race of 50 years ago. At the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts beginning Oct. 20.
"The Puppet Show." International in scope, this exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art brings together works in different media that explore puppet imagery. Opens Jan. 18.
"Color: Ten African American Artists." Presents artists who draw on a variety of sources to create crafted art resonant of the black experience. James A. Michener Art Museum, opens March 15.
"Treasured Pages." A selection of medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts lent by the Free Library of Philadelphia. At the Arthur Ross Gallery, University of Pennsylvania, beginning Oct. 12. 215-898-2083 or www.upenn.edu/ARG.
"Pre-Columbian Art From the Luther W. Brady Collection." Beginning Oct. 13, the Reading Public Museum will exhibit 45 objects from its Brady gift dating from about 500 B.C. to 1500 A.D.
"Ansel Adams, Moonrise: Print the Legend." Could there be a new art season without Ansel? The show examines the mythology of this iconic photograph through prints made in different decades. Opens Oct. 26 at the Princeton University Art Museum. 609-258-3788 or www.princetonartmuseum.org.
"Bill Brandt: Shadow of Light." Beginning Oct. 12, the University of Delaware will examine the career of a British photographic master known for his stark pictures of everyday life and his abstracted nudes. 302-831-8037 or www.undel.edu/museums.
For listings of additional art events, go to http://go.philly.com/fallarts07