I have a new love. On our recent trip through Washington, DC we visited the stunning National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum (housed together in the newly renovated Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture).
This gallery knocked my socks off. I thought the National Gallery of Art (also in DC) was amazing, but this was a real gem of a gallery. I am a genuine art lover and can easily spend a whole afternoon in an interesting gallery.
I thought I'd share some highlights with you. One of the most appealing aspects of this gallery is the wall colours. The gallery's curators choose such flattering wall colours to complement the paintings in the various rooms...
New acquisitions at the Portrait Gallery. The lady at the center is Ann Landers:
And here is Mark Twain, together with artist Cecilia Beaux and novelist Henry James:
And a young Edith Wharton (who I am just now reading):
A self-portrait by painter Cecilia Beaux. She held her own beside many of the great male painters of the day:
One of my all-time favorite painters - American impressionist painter Mary Cassatt, as captured by her pal Edgar Degas (this looked familiar...I have it in a book on Degas!). Cassatt is said to have hated this portrait of herself:
A charming portrait of industrialist Henry Clay Frick, with his daughter:
The interior courtyard:
The Deco-era "Woman with Red Hair" by Albert Herter. I love that the curators hung this painting of an orange-haired lass on a complementary blue wall:
My favorite room. The painting on the left is by Cecilia Beaux (above), entitled "Man with the Cat" (Henry Sturgis Drinker, her brother-in-law) with a charming ginger cat. On the right is a stunning pot of flowers by my new *favorite* artist Abbott Handerson Thayer:
A close-up of Thayer's flowers:
And to the right is a stunning portrait of Miss Elizabeth Winthrop Chanler (by portraitist extraordinaire John Singer Sargent):
The Sargent portrait is stunning. We saw an exhibition of his work in Houston last March, but this is my favorite painting of all. It works beautifully on this red wall:
I also adored this portrait, "An Interlude," by Wm Sergeant Kendall, of his wife and daughter. A print of this would be lovely in a child's room (I bought a postcard):
The very pretty "Wreath of Flowers" by John La Farge is in the foreground of this shot. Note the rich green walls:
"Angel" and "Virgin Enthroned" both by Abbott Handerson Thayer (the latter was painted in 1891, the year his wife died):
Another angel by Thayer, who took up painting angels after the death of two young children and his wife:
I hope you enjoyed the brief tour of this lovely gallery. My highest compliments to its esteemed curators! David also enjoyed the Civil War exhibit...