Monday, February 1, 2010

The Weekend Report: Snow and Art!

I awoke early Saturday morning (ok, well “early” was more like 10 o’clock…but whatever). I rolled out of bed, and was well into my coffee and pumpkin oatmeal before I thought to open my curtains and glance out the window. 


I got ridiculously excited for a moment…and then I realized that it probably wasn’t that big of a deal. I resisted my initial urge to run upstairs and announce the winter wonderland to my housemates…especially considering that 4 of them are from very snowy places (Michigan, Massachusetts, and Vermont) and thus probably wouldn’t be as thrilled with the prospect of a snowy city as I was.

I missed the epic DC blizzard of December (aka the Snowpacolypse), thanks to a well-timed ticket home to California. (You may have heard of it – an FBI agent pulled a gun on snowball throwers and it kind of made national news.)

So this was my first DC in the snow experience. And I will tell you, the city really does shut down. The streets really don’t get plowed, and the sidewalks? Forget it! I didn’t leave my house until 4pm on Saturday when I trekked around the corner for yoga

But then the blizzard abated, and Sunday was absolutely gorgeous – snowy and sparkling! The city emerged from it’s brief hibernation, coaxed out by the sunny skies and mild temperatures. By the afternoon, the sidewalks were manageable (though running is still tricky – you really have to pay attention to where you step!). So I thought it’d be nice to get out and about and hit up an art museum (you all know how I feel about art museums!).

I went to see The Chester Dale Collection “From Impressionism to Modernism” at the National Gallery (this new exhibit runs until July 31).  Chester Dale (1883-1962) was a Wall Street bond businessman with a passion for collecting art. With his wife Maude (1876-1953), who was a trained artist and critic, he amassed “one of the finest collections of late nineteenth- andd early twentieth-century French paintings in North America, much of it later bequeathed to the National Gallery of Art.”

But the collection’s not all French. Artists include George Bellows, Diego Rivera, William Mernitt Chase, and Amedeo Modigliani. And of course some of the best of the best: Monet, Manet, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cezanne, Cassatt, Degas, Renoir, etc.

I walked in and the first painting I saw was Degas’ Four Dancers, aka my favorite painting ever! Just think, if it weren’t for Dale and Maude’s collecting skills, this piece could be somewhere in France (or anywhere really), and I could live my entire life without ever seeing it!

Basically, this Dale character (and I think more importantly, his wife) has AMAZING taste. Imagine seeing this painting

 by Picasso (and note that it’s about 7x8 feet!) and saying, Yes, I believe I will acquire that. And then just throwing down ba-jillions of $$ because it will look good in your collection! Yowza! (Not likely in my future…the non-profit sector does not the art-collecting type create…ah well.)

If you’re not likely to get to the National Gallery before July 31, you can see all the pieces in a slideshow here