It’s hard to resist a final post about my visit to the Capital, but I saw a few stars on my final day. On a stroll around the White House perimeter fence I met The First Squirrel out on a meet ‘n greet with some fresh Presidential chestnuts.
Followed shortly thereafter by Frida Kahlo’s Self portrait dedicated to Leon Trotsky—allegedly the only Kahlo piece in any DC museum—at the Women in the Arts Museum.
And then it was onto the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery – both sections delivering amazing treats including the Presidents portraits. Hoping GW Bush Junior had done a self portrait after seeing his recent artistic endeavors, alas there was just a rather dull piece. Perhaps a perfect interpretation. He and Clinton were able to choose their own artist.
And this room led on to a surprise exhibit of Elain de Kooning’s portraits ( E de K). Of this piece, Seated man (Conrad) 1950, she said “I want the image to be simultaneously still and in motion like a flag in the wind. I don’t want it to feel at home – to settle quietly and politely on a wall; I want it to be uneasy, yet exuberant.
In 1962 E de K was commissioned to paint Kennedy. These pieces were huge and not finished until 1963 as she didn’t paint for a year after his death.
Loved this piece too – Aristodimos Kaldis #3 1978.
To dip in and out of the portraiture pool, across to the American Art and then in and out of the Conservators areas made it very easy to stay until 6pm. Finally a de Kooning The Wave 1942-44.
And the contemporary section was stunning. Sound suit by Nick Cave 2009.
And from there you can wander some storage racks as well as the Conservation area set up for sticky beaks.
And some painting repair and cleaning:
And a cool computer kiosk showed works that had been cleaned and repaired. This piece has had a discoloured varnish layer removed :-0
And finally it was time to head back to the colours of the desert, with a notepad of scribbles.