Monday, November 21, 2011

ECST - Fourth Stop: Washington, DC

After Scottie put me on a plane in Charleston, SC, I flew to Washington, DC.  My friend Jeffrey, a hilarious guy that I've known since the first grade, picked me up and was kind enough to let me stay with him while I was there.  We had such a great time catching up.  Like Braden and Suzy, we just pick up wherever we left off the last time we saw each other and it's as if no time had passed.

DC was not only a lot of fun, but it also provided a great experience at the National Portrait Gallery, The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and The Luce Foundation Center for American Art.  They are housed in the same wonderful building and I feel so lucky to have been able to visit.  In a few of the pictures below, the reason will be shown!

Jeff after he picked me up at the airport.  So great to see him!

Jeff took me to Georgetown for dinner at Thunder Burger that night.

The next morning, I went to Starbucks in Chinatown to plan my attack on a portrait miniature exhibit
 at the National Portrait Gallery.  

The National Portrait Gallery! When I got there, I realized there were only about 20 pieces in the exhibit, so I took down the info that could possibly contribute to my thesis and then took a tour with one of the employees and it was great!  
We ended the tour in the Luce Foundation Center for American Art.  It was such a find! There were thousands of works, not in storage and not on view in the museum, but viewable in clear cases and organized by period, medium or type.  Only their accession numbers accompanied the works, but one could take that number to a computer station and look up more information using that reference.  The portrait miniatures were organized into 32 drawers! Eureka!!! I'd found the mother load! (Of course, anyone can see this info on the website as well, but as I keep saying, nothing substitutes for seeing these pieces in person!)

This is what the interior of the drawers looked like.

In the fourth drawer, I found a piece by Charles Willson Peale, Matthias and Thomas Bordley, 1767.  This was one of my favorite pieces discussed in Dr. Robin Jaffee Frank's book, Love and Loss: American Portrait and Mourning Miniatures. Reading her discussion of this work inspired me and gave me direction in ways to approach my own writing. It was as thrilling to discover it upon the door opening as it might be for me to see a movie star! I know. I'm kind of a nerd, but I don't care.  I'm grateful for the experience!

After spending a couple of hours in the Luce Foundation Center, I stepped out into the Kogod Courtyard and had a late lunch.  Check out the incredible glass canopy covering the courtyard.  This glass and steel roof, designed by Foster + Partners, refrains from touching the building and is hidden from site of those on the street, a requirement of altering a historic site. 

After leaving the museum, I took the metro back to the neighborhood where Jeff lives and I have to say that a good metro system is a dream! I have hopes that OKC will see a day when convenient and efficient public transit will exist.  It's just going to take some time to get to that point.

Jeffrey (in front of his portrait of old Beau) before we went out to Old Town in Alexandria, VA
that evening for dinner

On our way to Alexandria, we saw the Kennedy Center! I'd love to see a performance there someday.

Good morning! Haha! I stayed in the nursery and this is how Jeff chose to wake me. :)

Jeffrey took me to the Eastern Market on the Hill for breakfast before he took me to the train station.  It was fun to see the Hill because that's where I stayed with Jeff the first time I visited him in 1998.  Can't believe it's been so long!

Eastern Market!

Once on the train, I simultaneously thought about how grateful I was for my visit to DC, foot rests (short people will understand) and how excited I was to get to my next stop, Philadelphia, PA! James was going to join me there and we would see our friends Sean, Sarah and Eva. I was also hopeful that there would be time to get to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  

On my way to PA!

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