Everybody knows that DC has historical treasures scattered about the National Mall, but the crowds thin out in the surrounding neighborhoods. Right here in Dupont Circle, for example, are the Phillips Collection and Anderson House, which hold some of the country’s most impressive collections of art. Here’s a look at five of the rare pieces of art you can find within their galleries:
A festive portrayal of Renoir’s friends drinking on a veranda at Paris’s Maison Fournaise restaurant with the Seine River in northern France beyond, Luncheon of the Boating Party exudes pure fun. The piece also captures a social renaissance in late 1800s Paris, when artists and bureaucrats socialized together. This masterpiece is the Phillips Collection’s best known and most popular work.
The Anderson House’s elaborate eight-part tapestry series woven of wool and silk is one of the country’s best examples of renaissance art. Dating to Brussels circa 1600, this comissionied piece for King Louis XIII depicts the story of Diana, a daughter of Zeus and patron of chastity in Greek mythology. The Virgin Huntress hunts down a lustful satyr with a bow and arrow in the first two tapestries setting the tone for a brilliant piece of visual storytelling.
The collective work consists of 60 water-colored prints each telling a chapter in the story of African Americans’ northern migration following WWI. A formative piece of American history, the journey was largely ignored by mainstream American art until Jacob Lawrence released his Migration Series in 1941 as the first black artist featured in a New York Gallery. The Phillips Collection and MoMa in NYC split the series.
Walk up the Great Staircase at the Anderson House and step into early 14th century Venice with this consuming painting of a royal procession. The piece shows a newly elected doge of the city draped in a crimson robe and a matching umbrella held over him by attendants. A group of young women dressed in white dresses stand beside him.
In the period after Pollock’s most prolific and recognizable drip paintings, the artist looked for ways to evolve while maintaining his signature abstract nature. Drawing inspiration from Carl Jung’s theories and Picasso’s paintings, he created this work of layered Japanese paper drenched in poured paint and torn in figurative fragments. The work is a captivating look at a lesser-known period in the artist’s career.
image via flickr
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