Trip to National Gallery of Art: Paintings and Exhibitions Part One

16 Aug
2010

On a trip to the National Gallery of Art last week in Washington, D.C., I had the pleasure of viewing so many amazing pieces of famous artworks, I felt like a kid in a candy store. My sweet tooth for art was surely satisfied and my camera was clicking away so I would be able to share the experience and show you some of the works I had seen.

Before I entered the National Gallery, I quickly made my way through the National Sculpture Garden and snapped this sculpture, Rabbit Thinker (Barry Flanagan). It began to rain, so unfortunately I did not get a change to meander here.

Once inside the West building I entered into the Chester Dale Collection.

Who is Chester Dale?

Chester Dale (1883-1962) was a New York investment banker, who made his fortune on Wall Street in the bond market. He and his wife Maud (1876-1953), a trained artist and critic, acquired great works of art from 1919 through the 1950′s. The Dales acquired important works by Mary Cassatt, Paul Cézanne, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Edouard Manet, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso, among others. While starting out  with acquisitions in the field of American art, he began to acquiring French art beginning in the early 1920′s, dipping into the avant-garde in 1925 with his first piece being The Plumed Hat (1919), by Henri Matisse.

Upon Chester Dale’s death, he bequeathed the core of his collection, more than 300 works of art, to the National Gallery of Art.

Pablo Picasso, Family of Saltimbanques, 1905

Pablo Picasso, Le Gourmet, 1901

Dale first encountered this painting from Picasso’s “blue” period, in the collection of his friend Josef Stransky, formerly a conductor of the Mew York Philharmonic. Stransky became an art dealer after he retired from the podium. Dale was enamored of the canvas and repeatedly tried to buy it, but Stransky refused to sell. Only after Stranky’s death in 1936 was Dale finally able to obtain the long-coveted work for his collection.

Auguste Renoir, A Girl With a Watering Can, 1876

Auguste Renoir, Odalisque: Woman of Algiers, 1870

Claude Monet, The House of Parliment Sunset, 1903

Pablo Picasso, Pedro Mañach, 1901

Vincent Van Gogh, La Mousme, 1888

Robert Henri, Snow in New York, 1902


On show in the East building, was the Edvard Munch, Master Prints exhibit. My favortite print from this exhibit was Munch’s Vampire II, in black and red (second print below).

In this early version of Edvard Munch’s “Vampire II,” from 1895, the lithograph is printed only in black.

This image involves a lithograph printed from two stones, in black and red, that make the woman’s hair read almost as dripping blood.

Most, if not all of Munch’s prints the male figure is seen as a shadow or the face is hidden and posture is bent. You cannot help but feel that Munch was indeed a tortured soul.  All of Munch’s prints in the exhibition are quite creepy and upon leaving the exhibition room a sense of sadness weighs upon you.

The following are paintings by Dutch painters…

Rembrandt Van Rijn, A Polish Nobleman, 1637

When entering the Dutch painters area, I came across artist Tigran Ghulyan, painting Rembrant’s Self Portrait, 1659.

A fantastic replication, except the lighting obviously needs more attention, as I am sure he was not finished with the painting at this point.

Jan Steen, The Dancing Couple, 1663

Hendrick Goltzius, The Fall of Man, 1616

In the upper right you can see the snake, with a female head.

My favorite portion of this painting is the cat, with it’s all knowing pensive look. He is well aware of what is about to happen.

Flemish Painter Frans Snyders, Still Life With Grapes and Game, 1630

So realistic, you could pluck them off the canvas and eat them.


Click here to view Trip to National Gallery of Art: Paintings and Exhibition Part Two.

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