Posts Tagged ‘National Gallery of Art’

Eighty years ago today Congress passed an act to accept a gift of an art collection and building funds to create  a National Art Museum on the National Mall.  Andrew Mellon, a Pittsburgh banker and Secretary of the Treasury (from 1921-32) had the idea and worked on a plan to create the new gallery and it was his donation in 1937 of his substantial art collection valued at $40 million plus an additional $10 million ($10 million in 1937 equals $172 million in 2017) for construction that was used to establish the National Gallery of Art.  Congress accepted his offer and passed the act to establish the museum on March 24, 1937, Mellon’s birthday.

The_Concert_A22894The National Gallery of Art brings wonderful works of art to the public (for free admission) that would not ordinarily be on view.  An example is the recent purchase of Gerard van Honthorst’s monumental masterwork, The Concert, that was acquired by the National Gallery in 2013 and went on display for the first time in 218 years.

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Gustave Caillebotte, Paris Street, Rainy Day, 1877, oil on canvas, The Art Institute of Chicago

Gustave Caillebotte, Paris Street, Rainy Day, 1877, oil on canvas, The Art Institute of Chicago

While at the National Gallery this week we got to see an interesting exhibit by Gustave Caillebotte.  He is one of the least known of the Impressionist painters not because his work is not worthy of recognition but because he didn’t sell his work.  He was independently wealthy and didn’t need to sell.

Gustave Caillebotte, Fruit Displayed on a Stand, c. 1881–1882, oil on canvas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Gustave Caillebotte, Fruit Displayed on a Stand, c. 1881–1882, oil on canvas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

According to the exhibit information “Caillebotte established himself as an artistic force in the group, as well as a vital organizer who helped curate and finance their exhibitions. During his brief career he also became a significant patron, amassing a collection of more than seventy works, including masterpieces by Degas and Renoir as well as Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, and Alfred Sisley.”

Check out more about this exhibit here.

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Kay, Kathy and Eve study the art


Cezanne Watercolor study


Cezanne Self Portrait – charcoal


Cezanne Still Life – Watercolor


Morrisot Study of a Girl in red charcoal


Monet Study for Picnic Painting – Pencil


The Studio’s Group at the National Gallery of Art

Here are more photos of the behind the scenes visit at the National Gallery of Art on Tuesday.  We saw Degas, Monet, Renoir, Morrisot, and Cezanne drawings and pastels that are not on display but in the archives there.  It was a rare and wonderful experience.  (See yesterday’s post here for more info.)

Tomorrow I will share the very interesting exhibit we saw by Gustave Caillebotte.

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Greg Jecmen reviewing what were seeing


Degas pastel


Degas Pastel


Degas Charcoal Drawing


Renoir study for the Country Dancers


Degas Charcoal and Pastel Study of Jockeys


Close-up of jockey 1


Close-up of jockey 2


Degas Charcoal and Pastel Horse and Jockey study


Degas Charcoal Horse Study

Yesterday morning we had a wonderful opportunity to go behind the scenes at the  National Gallery of Art and visit with Gregory Jecman, Associate Curator of Old Master Prints and Drawings.  He pulled some drawings and pastels by Degas, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, and Morrisot that we were allowed to examine up close.  It was a rare experience.

We were amazed to see the detail of the work so close up.  The National Gallery offers many programs like this that a free for the asking as long as you make an appointment in advance.  For art lovers it is a must!  Here are the wonderful Degas’ and a Renoir that we saw yesterday.  There was so much to see that I will share the other things we saw in the next few days.

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wbThe National Gallery of Art opened on this day in 1941.  “Originally conceived by Andrew Mellon, the wealthy U.S. industrialist, the plans for the gallery began in 1935. Mellon donated the land and construction plans to the nation, along with his own art collection. Congress voted to establish the National Gallery, and construction as well as acquisition of art works began in 1937. The gallery was completed in 1941. President Roosevelt dedicated it in March of that year, and its first exhibition, Two Hundred American Watercolors, opened in May. Many additions to both buildings and art collections have been made in the intervening years, and today the museum presents not only art works but lectures, performances, and concerts.”  – from http://www.cosmeo.com   Read more about the National Gallery of Art and explore the collection on their website by clicking here.

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Andrew Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth

I spent a delightful afternoon leading a tour group from The Village at Orchard Ridge to the National Gallery of Art in DC yesterday.  We made the trip to see the wonderful Andrew Wyeth exhibit, “Looking Out- Looking In”.  The exhibit closes the end of November and if you haven’t seen it yet you MUST go take a look.  Amazing watercolors with a limited palette.  Wonderful!


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. "Lady with a Dog", oil on cardboard, 1891

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. “Lady with a Dog”, oil on cardboard, 1891

Auguste Renoir, "Mlle Charlotte Berthier", oil on canvas, 1883

Auguste Renoir, “Mlle Charlotte Berthier”, oil on canvas, 1883

We had some time to see a lot more art and I will share more with you this week.  Here are two we saw in the Impressionist Galleries by Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec.  Of course, they caught my eye because they had pups in them.  🙂


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Copyist at the National Gallery working on a "Monet"

Copyist at the National Gallery working on a “Monet”

While visiting the National Gallery of Art a few weeks ago to see the wonderful Wyeth and Degas-Cassatt exhibits I had time to walk through a few of the permanent exhibit galleries.  There were several copyist at work.  I have seen some there in the past and often wondered if I could ever have enough courage to do that.  Maybe one day.

You can see more about the copyist program at the NGA here.

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