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US National Portrait Gallery

My kinda place.  I wish I had started earlier in the day and had more time to just absorb.  Sargent's Spanish Dancer is here along with 5 or 6 others.  Famous works by Thayer, Cassatt, Stuart and so many more.  There is a Tiffany, I did not know he painted.  There is an original of Queen Elizabeth I from 1558.  Famous paintings of John Adams, Ben Franklin, Jefferson, Lee, Washington as well as lesser known works of Lincoln and his generals.
Sargent stood out.  When his technical prowess is discussed, the reality is lost without direct comparison.  In a museum setting, it is readily apparent.  But newsflash .... he blended a lot.  His drapery and backgrounds are all loose, and he certainly did not paint faces like Peale or Reid, but check the face on the Spanish dancer.  I was struck by how much was displayed which did not appear in any way remarkable as an artwork.  Are they just old enough?  Was the subject important enough in his time?  And forgive me, the modern section was completely forgettable.  I see better art on this site every day.


  • I agree with you Mike about the modern/contemporary things. Though some are technically perfect there's something about an older piece that holds your eye and makes you think of the circumstances of the subject and times but the newer works are just pictures. I'm so glad the folks here paint in ways that reflect the "old world" art. I think that's part of the Mark Carder influence and appeal.
  • US National Gallery of Art - as fine a museum as I have visited anywhere, just not as large.  There were only two Vermeer's displayed, but there was a room full of Rembrandt.  There were 6 or 7 Sargents.  There was a whole wall of Van Gogh's.  Renoir, Monet, Manet, et al filled a wing.  Seurat and Pissarro had a room.  Whistler and Sargent competed for my attention with huge portraits across the room from one another.  I won.  We spent the entire day there and left exhausted but sad to leave.  We missed all of the Italian wing.  A wonderful experience and highly recommended.  It was interesting to watch the people.  The lobby was noisy and full of busy children but the galleries were hushed and awestruck. I watched a teenager, 13 maybe, stare at Vincent's self portrait for 5-10 minutes, barely moving.  People found the famous works, but found new masterpieces by artists they never heard of, me included, and stopped in their tracks.  It was total sensory overload.  I paint purely for fun and stress relief, but I came away with new knowledge, motivation and some new goals.
  • I don't think it is a stretch to say that one day one or more artists who've been influenced by Mark Carder and the good folks in this forum might have a painting hanging on those walls you've recently visited.
  • @MikeDerby ; Now that I'm mostly just a lurker, this thread, in particular, reminds me how I love that you keep us posted about your interesting discoveries from your studio and your travels.  You really get around.  :)  Summer   
  • I appreciate your feedback @Summer . I often think of you when I make my semi-blog type entries. So tell us, why have you become a lurker?  I would love to see some of your work.  After all the support you have contributed to this forum, you must know that everyone here is a friend.
  • SummerSummer -
    edited May 2017
    @MikeDerby ; Thanks, Mike.  Haven't given up on DMP altogether.  I gave myself two years to participate actively and that time is here.  Plan to resurface some time in the future when my thirst for experimentation and learning the new technologies dies down.  In the meantime, I am reminded of something I read for people in the arts: "Daily Work.  Volume, not perfection.  Steal.  Conscious Learning.  Rest.  Get Feedback.  Create what you love."  I don't think any of us here approves of or does the steal one.  :)  Later....  Summer

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