Marie had a work assignment in Washington, DC, so I tagged along to see what kind of Art I could find in the Nation's Capitol.  We drove up from Richmond on Monday, so we had plenty of time to check into our hotel room in Alexandria, and go into the city to look at cherry blossoms.

Apparently, much of the world had the same idea. It was, after all, probably the absolute peak weekend, as well as being the first warm day of Spring.

Marie was still under the weather, so we just drove around the edge of Lincoln Memorial, past the Tidal Basin and the Jefferson Memorial, under I-395, and found three hours of free on-street parking in a pretty neighborhood.  Just a short walk to L’Enfant Plaza Metro station where we took a train up to Gallery Place and the Smithsonian's American Art Museum.

Vaquero by Luis Jimenez, 1980-1990

We were starving so began with lunch in the courtyard café.  A Mediterranean platter and a can of Pellegrino imported orange soda. Blood-Red Orange Soda.

Since the American Art Museum  shares the old U.S. Patent Office with National Portrait Gallery, and many of the portraits were of artists done by well-known painters, it was often confusing to know where one started and the other ended.
Self-Portrait with Rita by Thomas Hart Benton, 1922
Amerigo Vespucci by Charles Wilson Peale, 1816
Edward Weston by Peter Krasnow, 1925
Self-portrait by Alice Neel, 1980
Harold Rosenberg by Elaine de Kooning, 1956

(Harold Rosenberg was one of the most important art critics in the mid-twentieth century.)  We didn’t  spend much time with the portraits, but it was a fun tour through old sections of building and big galleries of just about everything.

Best known for his Prometheus statue in Rockefeller Plaza and creator of over seven hundred pieces, Paul Manship served on the board of the American Art Museum which could account for an overwhelming number of pieces of his on display there.

Dancer and Gazelles by Paul Manship, 1916

Here are some things that I liked:

The Wave by Willem de Kooning, c1942-44
Monster (for Charles Ives) by Robert Motherwell, 1959
Sunflower III by Joan Mitchell, 1959
Landscape by Michael Goldberg, 1965
Sky Cathedral by Louise Nevelson, 1982
Nenuphar by Alexander Caldwell, 1968
Monekana by Deborah Butterfield, 2001

Marie was working in DC but I was not, so the next morning we parted ways at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station.  I turned right and began at Bartoldi Park.

Fountain of Light and Water by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, 1876

A lovely spot at the foot of Capitol Hill, maintained by the U.S. Botanic Garden.  At the center is a fountain sculpted by Frédéric August Bartoldi, best known for his work on the Statue of Liberty.  It was originally created for the Philadelphia Centennial.

Here are a few sculptures and sights along the Mall:

We Were Always Here by Rick Bartow, 2012
Continuum by Charles O. Perry, 1976

The Hirshorn Sculpture Garden, also on the Mall, has been in place since 1974 with wonderful sculptures from Europe and America:

Nymph (Central Figure for The Three Nymphs) by Aristide Maillol, 1930
Lunar Bird by Joan Miro, 1944-46

I crossed the Mall to get to the Art Museum of the Americas in the Pan American Union building on Constitution Ave.

walkway facing garden
This is part of the O.A.S. (Organization of American States). President Theodore Roosevelt, Secretary of State Elihu Root, and Andrew Carnegie (who paid for it) laid the cornerstone for this wonderful little building in 1908. Now it houses exhibits of Art inside and on the grounds as well. Since new mulch had just been spread, the markers identifying the sculptures of their collection were gone, so Fabian Goncalves Borrega, Exhibition Coordinator, gave me a personal tour. His knowledge of the art and artists was passionate, and I found he was trained as a conservator. Here are a couple:

September by Marta Minujin, 1990
Dualidad by Salvador Manzano, 1980

Inside there was Art as well:

Swimming Outside the Boundaries of Castle Grayskull by Gustavo Pena of Dominican Republic, 2008
Cursed Circumstance by Julio Valdez of Dominican Republic, 2007

Fabian suggested I visit the O.A.S. building next door, which I did and managed to find a lovely courtyard:

And a bit more art:

Blue Angel by Amelia Palaez of Cuba, 1945
Desintegracion de la pareja por mecanismos de espejos multicolores by Olga Donde of Mexico, 1977
Pintura No 4 by Yolanda Mohalyi of Brazil, 1963

O.A.S. faces The Ellipse, so I went north along the park to the Corcoran, which, alas, was closed on Tuesdays. Fortunately just a few blocks up 17th Street was the Renwick, on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Part of the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum, the Renwick Gallery mostly features crafts and decorative arts. As with all Smithsonian museums, admission was free. For the architecturally-interested among us, the Renwick was the first purpose-built museum in Washington. Designed by James Renwick, Jr. in 1859 as a public museum, it first held the collection of William Corcoran. Renwick also did the Smithsonian’s Castle and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC. I’ll skip all the “Second Empire” stuff, but will mention that Congress proposed razing the building in 1959. It was saved and restored due to the efforts of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. The Grand Salon is wonderfully big and has seventy paintings from the American Art Museum’s permanent collection. Here are a few of them:

The Knight of the Holy Grail by Frederick J. Waugh, c 1912
The Perfume of Roses by Charles C. Curran, 1902
The Open Book by J. Alden Weir, 1891

And here are a few other pieces in the museum that caught my eye:

Lady in Blue and Yellow Dress by Viola Frey, 1983
Game Fish by Larry Fuente, 1988
Gray Field by Mary Giles, 2001
Beach Umbrella at Blue Point by William Glackens, c 1915
Kimono Vases - Evening by Betty Woodman, 1990
Blanket Cylinder Series by Dale Chihuly, 1984

I walked down Pennsylvania Ave past the White House and other sights:

Build-Grow by Richard Hunt, 1992
also by Richard Hunt
Iron work column by Snead & Co of Jersey City, NY on the old Woodward & Lothrops.
Epoch by Albert Paley, 2004
Albert Einstein by Robert Berk
Infinity designed by Jose de Rivera, created by Roy Gussow
Chthonodynamis by Robert Russin, 1992

And then to New York Avenue and the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) which has two free galleries right off the sidewalk at 13th Street. In the main gallery was a show called Perceptive Strokes: Women Artists of Panama. A very nice exhibition of paintings complete with an excellent catalog. I shot these before being told I couldn’t:

Fish by Amalia Rossi de Jeanine of Panama, c 1963
 Tellus Mater by Lezlie Milson of Green Bay, 2002

Around the corner was the much smaller ISAAC Gallery which featured the art of José Toledo Ordónez. Photos not allowed. No big deal, but I have seen some wonderful shows here in the past.

Right across the street was the National Museum of Women in the Arts, beginning with a display of sculpture in the middle of New York Avenue.

Pass the Buck by Chakaia Booker, 2008
Gridlock by Chakaia Booker, 2008
Shape Shifter by Chakaia Booker

This is the art of Chakaia Booker. Inside (there is a $10 admission) are displays of art by and for women. The lady at the desk was obligated to mention that a male artist was included in the exhibit about an art colony in Denmark. Here are a few pieces I shot:

Antje by Regina Porten, 2012
Reflections of a Waterfall II by Louise Nevelson, 1982
 Orange by Joan Mitchell

This was the line before noon to Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken.

And across the street was the Brownley Confection Building.  Constructed in 1932, and designed by the popular Porter & Lockie firm, the business closed just eight years later. The candy, not the architects.  Now it's tacos.  Zoom in to see the Deco-inspired designs.

Originally built to house Andrew Mellon’s European collection, The National Gallery of Art now sprawls along the north side of the Mall for six blocks.

Let's begin with the Sculpture Garden:

Spider by Louise Bourgeois, 1996
Four-Sided Pyramid by Sol Lewitt, 1997
In the winter they ice skate here instead.

In the winter they ice skate here instead. Like the great museums of the world, the National Gallery is packed with art from many periods. The West building has European Art from the 13th through the 19th centuries and American art from Colonial times through early 20th century. There are rooms of paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, medals, furniture and more. The special exhibit about the Pre-Raphaelites was nice but not for photos.  Here are a few of my shots from European end:

Alexander and Bucephalus by Edgar Degas, 1861-62
 The Nymph of the Spring by Lucas Cranach the Elder, after 1537
A Polish Nobleman by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1637

And a few from the American galleries:

Diana and the Hound by Paul Manship, 1925
Breezing Up (A Fair Wind) by Winslow Homer, 1876
Shaw Memorial by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 1900, from a distance.
 Moon by Arthur Dove, 1935

The East Building, designed by I.M. Pei and opened in 1978, contains collections of Modern and Contemporary Art. On this occasion, however, there was an exhibit of prints by Albrecht Dürer as well. Here are a few photos of what I saw:

Two Women by Fernand Leger, 1922
The Trap by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1880
Dora Maar by Pablo Picasso, 1941
Aztec Josephine Baker by Alexander Calder, c 1929
 Capricorn by Max Ernst, 1948-1975

There was still some time before meeting Marie at the Metro, so I walked back across the Mall to the Hirshorn, since it wasn't open when I stopped there to take pictures in the sculpture garden. The Hirshorn Museum, which is also part of the Smithsonian, began with the collection of Joseph H. Hirshorn that once graced his Greenwich, CT mansion and he continued adding until he died in 1981.   Here's a few shots:

Sally and Sara by Milton Avery, 1947
Canuck Yankee Lumberjack at Old Orchard Beach, Maine by Marsden Hartley, 1940-41
Green Storefront by Christo, 1964

You can tell I'm tired as I've haven't said anything about the museum.  I'll just let the Art speak for itself.  It's a wonderful place.

On Wednesday I took the Metro to Dupont Circle to begin the day at the Phillips Collection. Since I went into town with Marie, I was way too early and so explored around the area. The circle itself is dominated by a fountain designed by Daniel Chester French of Lincoln Memorial fame.

It is the hub of ten streets and the pedestrian traffic flowed through in every direction. While there are several embassies in the immediate area, I found other things to shoot:

Ancestor by Seymour Lipton, 1958
The Phillips Collection is the fruits of Duncan Phillips’ inheritance and I must say, I agree with many of his purchases:

 From the White Place by Georgia O'Keeffe, 1940
Dancers at the Barre by HGE Degas, c 1900
The Road Menders by Van Gogh, 1889
 Luncheon of the Boating Party by PA Renoir, 1880-81

It was nice to see Paul Klee, for a change:

Figure of the Oriental Theater by Paul Klee, 1934
 Picture Album by Paul Klee, 1937
The Way to the Citadel by Paul Klee, 1937
Tree Nursery by Paul Klee, 1929

There was a special exhibition called Angels, Demons, and Savages featuring the Art of Jackson Pollock, Jean DuBuffet, and Alfonso Ossorrio.  I found it interesting.  Especially the Pollocks, but not photos allowed.  I found these on-line:

Number 1,1950 (Lavender Mist) by Jackson Pollock, 1950
Paysage metaphysique by Jean DuBuffet, 1952
Red Family by Alfonso Ossorio, 1951

Far too many for me to describe here, CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE.

Walked back through Dupont Circle, past the ubiquitous food trucks:

Then returned to the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Founded to house the collection of William Wilson Corcoran in 1874, The Corcoran has artwork from all periods. Mr. Corcoran was a personal friend to several of the artists whose work now hang in the gallery, including Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Church, Thomas Doughty, and George Inness. Here are a few I liked:

Yeats at Petitpas by John Sloan, 1910
Imagination by Oscar Bluemner, 1932
Smoke Hounds by Reginald Marsh, 1934


Bumped into an Immigration Reform parade:

Lunch was at El Fuego where I got the Pan con Chicharon with roast pork and slices of sweet potato topped by a tasty sauce.

Then I stopped in at The Freer:

Twisted Form, Traveler's Guardian Spirit by Shiro Hayami, 1981

I was especially intrigued by the Peacock Room, which James McNeil Whistler did for his patron James Leyland. In 1904, Charles Freer purchased the room, had it dismantled and shipped to Washington. The picture does not do it justice. A Washington “must-see.”

There were lots of other Whistlers:

The Little Blue Girl by Whistler

You can stay underground to get into the Sackler’s lower galleries for a quick look around. The Sackler and Freer Galleries are the Smithsonian’s Museums of Asian Art (not my fav).

Queen Sembiyan Mahadevi as the Goddess Parvat

I met Marie outside the Metro Centre stop so we could have dinner before continuing on to the Kennedy Center. Pickings were slim, but we found an interesting place called Chop’t Salad. Marie had the Palm Beach with avocado, tomato, cucumber, hearts of palm and romaine lettuce, and I got the Vegetarian Powerhouse with broccoli, edamame, carrots, sunflower seeds, walnuts, craisins, apples, spinach and romaine. All chopped up and much more than we could eat. And that was with no bread!

Foggy Bottom is the closest Metro stop for the John F. Kennedy Center where we were going to see the American Ballet Theatre do an assortment of pieces in the Opera House. Outside were a few sculptures:

by sculptor Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar of Columbia
 Don Quixote by Aurelio Teno
Amerika by Jürgen Weber

detail from above

And inside:

I found Robert Berk’s sculpture of John F. Kennedy:

The Opera House was beautiful:

How do they change those light-bulbs anyway?

And so were the dancers:

The first piece was the George Balanchine choreographed Symphony in C with music by Georges Bizet (a couple of Georges). Each movement was more beautiful than the one before. Each movement (of four) featured twelve to sixteen dancers and all forty-seven were on stage at the end. The next two, The Moor’s Pavane (choreographed by Jose Limon, music by Henry Purcell), and Symphony No. 9 (Igor Stravinsky) were also nice, but didn’t blow me away like the opener. A magical evening.

Having used up most of the art destinations in DC and most of my stores of energy, I packed us up, as this was the last day of Marie’s assignment, and I spent the afternoon wandering around Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.

Old Town provides much of what Washington cannot: old, quaint and along the waterfront. What’s really something are the block after block of beautiful old residential neighborhoods. King Street provides all the attractions like shops, restaurants, galleries, and anything you can imagine, from the train station to the shore of the Potomac.

Not as many art galleries as I remember in the past. Seems like they’ve been replaced by cupcake and lingerie shops.

Here is some misc. sculpture:
Brio by Jimilu Mason, 1983
1a Sacandaga Totem by John Van Alstine, 1997
The Shipbuilder by Michael Curtis, 2004

I had a beer at the Fish Market. It’s a 32 ounce Special Hops IPA by Commando Beer, a MD brewery started by an ex-Seal.

The trick is to drink it all before it gets warm. And soon it was time to pick up Marie.

We had dinner at a place I found in my wanderings called the Flying Fish.

Distinctive décor, interesting food, good service. I had Chesapeake Shepherd's Pie with crab, smashed Dijon potatoes, and creamy polenta. Plus corn salsa with cornbread and vegetable.  Marie had the Jamaican Calamari and steamed clams.  On our way into DC on Monday, we noticed severe backups due to construction on the southbound side, so we planned to make our escape on Thursday evening instead of Friday morn.

While we waited for the rush hour traffic to run it’s course, we had the good fortune of being in town for Third Thursday at the Torpedo Factory. Begun in 1974, there eighty-two artists working at the Torpedo Factory as well as group galleries and workshops, making this an enviable institution. Right on the waters edge, they really did make torpedoes here. We just found more peaceful stuff:

Garden by Alex Lockwood, made of lottery tickets
By Lisa Schumaier
another Schumaier
Linda Lawler
 Dog and Pony Show by Jackie Ehle Inglefield
Torpedo Factory Knitters, featuring Kathy Beynette (front right).

Twelve hours of driving later, we were home.  Unlike this family:

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