Monday, October 1, 2012

Art Tour Series VII: Washington, DC

While company was visiting this weekend in honor of my nephews wedding, a few of us went into DC Friday for  some gallery hopping and lunch; my idea of the perfect day.
The meters are .25 for 5 minutes at the mall, with a 2 hour limit, so we dashed through four galleries, the first among them was  the Freer Gallery which has joined with the Sackler Gallery to form the National Museums of Asian Art.  On display is this phenomenal Peacock Room by James Whistler.

This room was originally in a Liverpool mansion owned by Frederick Leyland, a shipping magnate. Artist and expatriate James Whistler redecorated it in 1876-1877 as a "harmony in blue and gold".  It was purchased in 1904 by museum founder Charles Freer, disassembled and shipped to his mansion in Detroit, MI. He then added hundreds of porcelains and 'objets' from his travels. It was reassembled for the gallery in 1923.  It is dark and moody but sparkling and brilliant at the same time, so relevant with today's trends.
There were many works of Whistler on display including this self portrait:

 One of my favorite paintings by Whistler "Caprice in Purple and the GoldenScreen" (1864):

Elsewhere in the Freer was this section of a 35 ft. screen from the mid 12th Century! It was a beautiful pen and ink drawing depicting animal scenes and landscapes;

These animal "ewers" or wine vessels, were produced in northern china where they more often depicted mythical creations.  Southern china created more natural realistic living animals.

This beautiful low back rosewood armchair was from the Ming-Oing dynasty, late 16th-18th century.

Next on our 2 hour tour we traversed the Smithsonian castle gardens on our way to the Museum of African Art, which I had never been to before and it did not disappoint!

 There were lots of specimen plants in the garden.

I am always as enthralled with the architecture of these buildings as I am the art.

I loved this African horse charcoal drawing:

 There is currently an exhibit on the Cosmos and African Art, which was very interesting.

Then we made our way to the Hirshorn Museum and sculpture garden which I  mentioned pin the 1st of my art tour series here.  Currently there is a "signs of the zodiac" exhibit in the gardens, by Ai Weiwei, which depict eleven Chinese zodiac bronze animals . I found out that I was born in the year of the snake--how unromantic.( Have I mentioned I hate snakes? We have them on our property occasionally, and in our pool infrequently, thank god!)

Find out what your Chinese zodiac sign is here.

His crystal panel is under installation currently to open later this month. I snuck a quick shot through a slit in the curtain...isn't it beautiful?

Next inside there were some new exhibits including a very graphic text display by Barbara Kruger called "Belief and Doubt"where words overwhelm the space as you go down the escalator to another floor.

Then there's the spectacular 2nd story atrium view of DC, 

along with some of my favorite colorful contemporary art by Stanton Macdonald-Wright:

That concludes our 2 hour tour of a few museums in Washington, DC. Then we headed off to a rehearsal dinner and the backyard wedding on Saturday evening.  Here are some quick shots of the lovely couple, (their 2nd marriage each, blending families with 2 boys each) and spectacular flowers on russet orange tablecloths.

Here is a shot of me on the left with my 3 siblings:

The Powell of Powell Brower:

My eldest sister, the mother of the groom, made this wedding cake, and a coconut grooms cake:

I hope you had a great weekend! Im exhausted!


If you are looking for help with your home, we'd love to work with you! Contact us for a listing of our services and prices. Nancy and Bethany


  1. First I must mention how cute you look!
    I have not been to any of the museums in at least 5 years :( and never to the Sackler or Freer. The museums in Washington were a once a month (or more) thing when I was a kid. I miss that.

  2. That pic is great of you! Isn't it nice to spend a day with family and roam around feeling our souls with art! I'll bet you feel really inspired! To top it off with a beautiful wedding...well that is the recipe for a great weekend! Happy Monday!

  3. Man what a way to spend some time!!! Love the photos!

  4. Nancy,
    So much to love about this post!!! The zodiac sculptures are amazing!!! Also love the charcoal drawing of the horse. Best wishes to your friends as they begin a new life together!!!!

    Happy October!!!
    xoxo Elizabeth

  5. wish i were there.
    everything you have posted is extraordinary.

    you look amazing!

  6. How gorgeous is that peacock piece?? I adore!!

  7. Love tour of the Peacock room and the Caprice in Purple--what a sweet, dear face. You did pack a lot of deliciousness into this post. Great picture, BTW.
    I pinned the graphic piece!

  8. You are as GORGEOUS as you are kind and talented! I didn't realize your hair was long, it must have been pulled back in photos I've seen. The charcoal piece is my favorite, and what a beautiful wedding, how fun to celebrate with your siblings, too!

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your LOVELY weekend! I so enjoyed getting to see everything!

  10. I love those Chinese animals...think I can find them on Ebay? You look so beautiful. The couple looks so happy. What a nice weekend for you. By the way, my brother's hair is as long as your brothers'.

  11. Wow, been to the mall only once, and I must say the first couple of pics you ve shown are works we've missed! Thank you!

    As for the Brower clan - wow! You guys carry the same beautiful smile and smiling eyes too!!!! I am sure you guys get along s well! You look gorgeous Nancy - Percy, perfect!

  12. Oh wow, you have given me a little gift of memory. We used to live in DC and when I first moved there (I was teaching at the time and had my summers off), I'd spend days on end going through the art museums on the mall.

    Looks like you had a great time at the wedding -- and a great weekend overall. Hope you've recovered!

  13. What a special weekend! That cake is beautiful, as you are! Such nice photos. Thanks for sharing!


  14. Nancy, do you ever take a bad photo?? You look gorgeous!! I agree with Vel Criste.....beautiful!

    Did you know I used to work at the Freer and Sackler? My office was very near the Peacock Room. The Freer is one of my favorite museums. And did you know that they had a real peacock living in the courtyard back in 1993?



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