This was the place we were heading for on our last trip into Washington DC, the Smithsonian Institution Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture - The National Portrait Gallery. I am sharing a lot of what we saw inside and some of those are of nude statues. Having gone to museums all my life it doesn't cross my mind usually, but I once posted a nude statue before and someone's comment sounded a bit taken aback. So, just in case nudity offends you or if you have small children around whom you would prefer not to see them, there will be sculptural nudity in this post.
We were not allowed to take any photos inside the Rockwell exhibit but this was an advertisement not too far away.
Inside was a covered canopy over the courtyard. It was quite extraordinary to look up and see this structure. I thought it beautiful and as often happens, these photographs do not do it justice. People really have to experience it themselves.
Many of these photos were taken by Gregg.....
In my defense of that delightful expression on my face in the next photo I wasn't feeling that chipper, having fallen down hard on my knees a while earlier (mentioned in previous posts). Gregg had just said, "Smile!" Well I tried but it didn't actually turn out very well. We were all waiting in line for the Rockwell Exhibit and had about half an hour wait. I was happy I had that wall to sit on because I wasn't going to come all this way and not see that exhibit
- now at the end of its run - and was looking for anything to rest up a bit. I chatted with the lady next to me who had brought her Kindle along, brilliant idea I told her.
Getting back to that fall about half an hour earlier, the nicest gentleman came over to help me and he was so kind. Gregg hadn't realized I wasn't behind him and was near the traffic light waiting to cross over the road. He looked around and was quite shocked to see me on the ground some distance away, thinking in the first few seconds, "What is she doing sitting on the curb?" To be perfectly frank there were lots of other people standing around who just stared and lifted not one finger. It would have been nice if they had helped. I like to think I would in the same situation. So you know, you feel like a complete idiot but this nice man was giving me advice and telling Gregg who had rushed over, that I really should get up off the cold concrete and start moving around, that if I didn't start moving straight away in this cold weather, I would feel much worse. I will always be grateful to that very nice man who offered his assistance. Thank you nice gentleman, you really were my Knight in Shining Armor. He and my other Knight in Shining Armor (Gregg of course) got me to my feet and we thanked the nice gentleman for his kindness. No more said on the falling down thing. Just try and remember to watch out for high curbs!
The line was getting longer and I heard one of the staff telling people the wait would be over 45 minutes now. I was glad we turned up when we did. They were letting people in 30 at a time.
This lovely tree was growing inside that courtyard. I had no Kindle but did have my pocket camera and that kept me entertained during the wait.
The exhibit was fantastic and well worth the wait. Years ago I went to an art auction in Monterey and heard bids on Norman Rockwell prints. I remember being astounded when one person paid $2,000 on one piece and could not imagine their worth here. These works of art had been loaned by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. I saw originals that I had never seen before, and I have been interested in Norman Rockwell for years. Before leaving we went into the gift shop and bought a book showing many of these unknown prints, to us anyway.
Since the first time I found out about Norman Rockwell I have thought of him as a phenomenal artist. You can read about him right here.
I read an article in the Washington Post that said 706,000 people saw “Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collection of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg” from its opening July 2nd until it closed this past Sunday, January 2nd. In the closing week alone 70,500 people attended the exhibition.
You can go here to see photos of Mr. Rockwell's artwork.
The following three photos are from The Fox and The Crow and The Crane and The Peacock, by Paul Manship, born St. Paul, MN, 1885 - died New York City 1966.
The explanation at the side read: "In these two sculptures, which are actual details from bronze gates made in 1952 for the William Church Osborne Memorial Playground in New York City's Central Park at 85th Street and Fifth Avenue, Manship illustrates stories from Aesop's fables. The Crane and the Peacock suggests that "fine feathers don't make fine birds," and "The Fox and The Crow" moralizes that "flatterers are not to be trusted." (The Central Park gates have recently been removed from restoration.)
"Indian Hunter and his Dog - 1926 - bronze - Paul Manship
This is a study for a life-sized group commissioned for the Cochran Memorial Park in St. Paul, Minnesota, where it was placed with four fountain figures of Canada Geese."
"Salome - 1915 - bronze - Paul Manship"
Salome is one of the finest examples of Manship's early decorative style. Only six copies of this sculpture was made."
"Group of Deer - 1941 - bronze - Paul Manship
In 1932, Manship regrouped three deer from details of his Rainey Memorial Gateway for the Bronx Zoo and made a separate sculpture with the deer facing in one direction for the Spencer Penrose Zoological Gardens, now the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This group of deer is a reduction made in 1941. In 1952 Manship also placed a copy of this group on top of the right marble posts of the gates to the William Churchill Osborne Memorial Playground in New York City's Central Park at 85th and Fifth Avenue. (The marble post remains but the group has been removed.)"
"Group of Bears - 1939 - bronze - Paul Manship.
In 1932 Manship took three bears from details of his Rainey Memorial Gateway for the Bronx Zoo and regrouped them as a separate structure. This group of bears is a reduction of that sculpture. In 1952 Manship also placed a copy of this group on top of the left marble post of the gates to the William Church Osborne Memorial Park Playground in New York City's Central Park at 85th Street and Fifthe Avenue. (The marble post remains but the group has been removed.)
"Bacchus and Faun - bronze - probably 1580/1600
Probably Milanese - 16th Century"
Apparently I didn't get a description of this one. I usually take photographs of all the signs below the statue, so this one is unidentified for the time being.
"Louis XIV - bronze - c 1700
After Gian Lorenzo Bernini" - French
"Edward McCartan - American - 1879-1947
Isoult - 1926 - bronze"
"Edward McCartan - American - 1879-1947
Nymph with Satyr - 1920 - bronze"
"Madonna and Child"
Unfortunately my photo of this inscription came out blurry on the following two photos, and I was unable to read all the information.
"Madonna and Child with God the Father and Cherubim
Workshop of Andre Della Robbia - Florentine - 1435-1525"
French - 1841-1919
A Girl with a Watering Can - 1876
Oil on Canvas
I think we actually saw this painting in the previous art museum we went into.
Gregg got a better close-up of this beautiful painting. This has been one of my favorites for many years, but it is the first time I saw the original. Amazing to me to be actually standing in front of the original. I asked the Guard and we were able to photograph it but asked not to use a flash.
"Hanging in Stairwell
Colonel William Fitch and his Sisters, Sarah and Ann Fitch
Oil on Canvas - 1800/1801
John Singleton Copley
American - 1738-1815"
I'm afraid these are a little blurry and don't enlarge well.
This is one of Gregg's photos. I forgot to ask where he took it. Either a window or a skylight I would imagine.
I know nothing of this statue of the bucking bronco and cowboy. By this time we were heading out the other entrance and were heading for the metro.
I hope you have enjoyed your tour. Washington DC has the most amazing museums and there is no entrance fee to any of the Smithsonians.