Thursday, February 15, 2024

The National Gallery, Washington DC


 The National Gallery of Art, in Washington DC, is a great museum to visit. It has a collection of art work that rivals many larger museums, like the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, but it is small enough to be easily explored in one day. A trip to DC gave me the chance to visit two special exhibits along with a slice of its permanent collection.

Dorothea Lange: Seeing People (through March 31, 2024)


Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) was an American photographer who spent much of her career documenting people who were affected by changes to major social and political structures. Her first big break came when she started to document the effects of the Great Depression in San Francisco, California. 

Unemployed Man, San Francisco, California

White Angel Breadline, San Francisco, California

May Day, San Francisco, California

Maynard and Dan Dixon

In 1935, Lange was hired by the Resettlement Administration and the Farm Security Administration to document the lives of the internal refugees who were fleeing the dust-bowl of the American Plains states. After losing their farms, and with little or no money, they arrived in California looking for work. They were herded into migrant camps, often working jobs at starvation wages, while traveling to where large farms needed their labor. She also traveled through the Jim Crow South, documenting the lives of share croppers.


Migrant Agricultural Workers Family, Nipomo, California

Formerly Enslaved Woman, Alabama

Plantation Owner, Mississippi Delta

At the start of World War II, Lange turned her camera to document the effects of Executive Order 9066. Thousands of Japanese-Americans on the west coast were rounded up and sent to internment camps, losing their possessions and land. 

Grandfather and Grandson, Manzanar Camp, California

Children of the Weill Public School, San Francisco, California

This exhibit offers a deep exploration of the faces of Americans trying to make it through difficult times.

Mark Rothko: Paintings on Paper

Mark Rothko (1903-1970) is best known for his large paintings of rectangular blocks of color, stacked on top of each other. But what I loved about this exhibit was his early work. The show offers a chance to see how he explored many different genres of painting, taking inspiration from works created by famous artists.


Untitled (Bending Female Nude)

Untitled (Woman combing hair)

Untitled (Woman in red armchair)

Untitled (mountains and clouds)

Of course, the permanent collection of the National Gallery is always worth visiting, even as you walk from one end of the museum to the other.

The Adoration of the Magi by Sandro Botticelli

Blue Morning by George Bellows

Dancers by Edgar Degas

A Burgher of Calais by Auguste Rodin

Bleeding Flag by Faith Ringgold

Head of a Catalan Peasant by Joan MirĂ³

Family of Saltimbanquers by Pablo Picasso


Make sure you also visit the Gallery’s Sculpture Garden, which is across 7th street from the West Building.

Gothic Personage, Bird-Flash by Joan MirĂ³

Spider by Louise Bourgeois

House 1 by Roy Lichtenstein

Washington DC is home to many great museums. The foundation, however, starts with Smithsonian Institute and the National Gallery of Art.

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