Drop-dead impressionists and a petrol-powered candle – the week in art

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Exhibition of the week

Courtauld Impressionists
This scintillating remix of two of the world’s greatest collections of French 19th-century art – London’s Courtauld and the National itself – is full of drop-dead gorgeous masterpieces by Manet, Seurat, Gauguin and other artists.
National Gallery, London, 17 September to 20 January.

Also showing

Urs Fischer
Fischer’s friend Dasha sits in a pink dress looking out of the gallery window. From outside she seems made of marble but the statue is a wax and petroleum candle that will melt over the coming weeks to create a shocking image of mortality.
Gagosian Davies Street, London, until 3 November.

An examination of addiction opens this new gallery dedicated to science and art.
Science Gallery, London, 21 September to 6 January.

Pierre Puvis de Chavannes
The silent, mythic world of one of the strangest artists in late 19th-century France – which is saying something.
Michael Werner Gallery, London, 21 September to 10 November.

The Enchanted Garden
Monet, Rossetti and even Francis Bacon show their prize blooms in this survey of the garden in art.
Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, until 7 October.

Masterpiece of the week

Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin – La Fontaine (The Water Cistern), 1733 or later
Long before Manet and his contemporaries turned their eyes on the humble beauty of everyday life, their regard for the real was anticipated by Chardin. This 18th-century French painter of the ordinary rarely raised his eyes above what he could see on a market stall or a kitchen table. Yet he fills every object he paints with a sombre philosophical power. Here we see a quiet moment in a kitchen. The solidity and sheer facthood of the big brass water cistern makes it as significant as the woman drawing water from it. In the shadows above hang red and white hunks of meat, further enriching the painting’s meditation on the overlooked.
National Gallery, London.

Image of the week

V&A Dundee, by Kengo Kuma
The city of Dundee, home to comics, cakes and the more modern business of computer games, has a new £80m waterfront museum dedicated to design that boasts Scotland’s biggest exhibition space. Its Japanese architect juxtaposes two inverted pyramid forms clad with concrete slabs resembling cliffs and framing views of the river Tay.

What we learned

Princess Diana’s funeral was re-created, Manchester style

Christian Marclay ticks five stars for The Clock. He told us how he made it

Video artist Alex Frost is opening things up

Vevey in Switzerland is as pretty as a picture

Could a redesign heal Derry’s troubles?

Hockney’s swimming pool portrait is gliding towards a record

… as Van Dyck royal portraits go up for sale

Renzo Piano comes to the Royal Academy in London

Mika Rottenberg has a taste for the absurd

Gerrard Gethings has an eye for human-canine lookalikes

Eva Sereny caught Liz Taylor and Richard Burton at a bad moment

New York looks eerie without New Yorkers

Ezra Stoller created a photographic monument to modernism

London street signs reveal more than names

The Victorian Society released its latest top 10 endangered buildings

A South African photographer is claiming his township portrait has been plagiarised

We remembered the architect and educator Florian Beigel

Don’t forget

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