an outing with a fellow blogger: the national gallery of art, oyamel, & the navy memorial

Tuesday, October 20:  This morning, I meet fellow blogger Toby of Travels with Toby in Washington, D.C. Our plan is to visit the National Gallery of Art.  She is from Minnesota, but is here in Virginia helping her sister to care for her elderly mother.  Toby had lived in Washington during the late 80s and had visited the National Gallery of Art several times. She wanted to spend a few hours in D.C. revisiting the Impressionists.  Here is Toby’s write-up of our meeting: Travels with Toby: My few hours in Washington, D.C.

I arrive before Toby because I have been commuting downtown for the last month and have the commute down pat. I sit for a while in Cosi having some coffee and a yogurt parfait.  Then I make my way over to the gallery where, at the front desk, I get a brochure about the collection highlights at the museum. As I’m standing at the front desk, Toby calls and tells me she has entered the museum at the 7th St. entrance.   I head in that direction and we finally meet, after several years of reading each others’ blogs on the blogosphere.  Toby has a great love of Spain, having studied there at one time, and she hopes to retire there one day.  I believe we met through my blog: in search of a thousand cafés.  I was writing on that blog about my travels through Spain and Portugal.

The main highlight the docent pointed out to me was Edgar Degas’ Little Dancer Aged Fourteen.  I show Toby the brochure about the highlights and we head directly to see the dancer.  She’s quite impressive.

According to the brochure Collection Highlights, “one of the many poor girls who danced for the Paris Opera, Marie van Goethem stands with head high, arms tautly stretched behind her.  Degas dressed her image, the only sculpture he ever exhibited publicly, in cloth garments and human hair.”

Edgar Degas, Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, 1878-1881, waxed satuette
Edgar Degas, Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, 1878-1881, waxed statuette
Edgar Degas, Little Dancer, bronze statuette
Edgar Degas, Little Dancer, painted plaster

The brochure’s map points the way to the Impressionist collection.  We admire other paintings along the way, but I’m not sure what they are.

painting at the National Gallery of Art
painting at the National Gallery of Art

I know I recognize this painting, but I can’t for the life of me remember who the artist is.  If anyone knows, please tell me in the comments.  It’s driving me crazy!

painting at the National Gallery of Art
painting at the National Gallery of Art

Finally, we’re in the galleries that showcase the Impressionists.  The National Gallery has some wonderful treasures, and I’m sorry to say my photos don’t do justice to them.

Boulevard des Italiens, Morning, Sunlight (oil on canvas, 1897) - Camille Pissarro
Boulevard des Italiens, Morning, Sunlight (oil on canvas, 1897) – Camille Pissarro
painting at the National Gallery of Art
Place du Carrousel, Paris (1900) – Camille Pissarro
Seascape at Port-en-Bessin, Normandy (1888) - Georges Seurat
Seascape at Port-en-Bessin, Normandy (1888) – Georges Seurat
Montagne Sainte-Victoire, from near Gardanne (1887) - Paul Cezanne
Montagne Sainte-Victoire, from near Gardanne (1887) – Paul Cezanne
painting at the National Gallery of Art
Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, 1878 – Mary Cassatt
Young Girl at a Window (1883-1884) - Mary Cassatt
Young Girl at a Window (1883-1884) – Mary Cassatt
an artist painting a famous painting, Woman with a Parasol, by Claude Monet
an artist painting a famous painting, Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and her son, by Claude Monet
painting at the National Gallery of Art
painting at the National Gallery of Art
Oarsmen at Chatou (1879) - Auguste Renoir
Oarsmen at Chatou (1879) – Auguste Renoir
Monet
The Japanese Footbridge (1899) – Claude Monet

Personally, I love the Cezanne paintings.  He is my favorite Impressionist for sure.

Hamlet at Payonnet, near Gardanne (1885-1886) - Paul Cezanne
Hamlet at Payonnet, near Gardanne (1885-1886) – Paul Cezanne
Paul Cezanne
Houses in Provence: The Riaux Valley near L’Estaque c. 1883 – Paul Cezanne
Paul Cezanne
Château Noir (1900/1904) – Paul Cezanne
painting at the National Gallery of Art
At the Water’s Edge, c. 1890 – Paul Cezanne

I also love Gauguin.

painting at the National Gallery of Art
The Bathers (1897) – Paul Gauguin
painting at the National Gallery of Art
Roses (1890) – Vincent van Gogh

I ask Toby to pick her favorite painting and I take a photo of her in front of it. She chooses Renoir’s Oarsmen at Chatou.

Toby with Oarsmen at Chatou (1879) - Auguste Renoir
Toby with Oarsmen at Chatou (1879) – Auguste Renoir

The gallery has some beautiful atriums and rotundas and halls, where tropical gardens abound.

an atrium at the National Gallery of Art
an atrium at the National Gallery of Art

We pick a few more of the collection highlights from the brochure, including Niagara, by Frederic Edwin Church.  According to the brochure, “Church’s powerful rendering of the magnificence of Niagara Falls made him famous virtually overnight.  The vantage point just before the precipice captures the falls’ fearsome power, which the artist emphasizes with a panoramic format and by tilting the picture plane down toward the viewer.  The glimmer of rainbows, the clearing sky, and the sunlight on the far shore (looking toward the US from Canada) reflect the commonly held nineteenth-century belief that spirituality could be found in nature.”

Niagara (1857) - Frederic Edwin Church
Niagara (1857) – Frederic Edwin Church

I love the light, shadows and dramatic skies of the three paintings below.  I guess that’s the photographer in me that is attracted to the light.

painting at the National Gallery of Art
painting at the National Gallery of Art
Buffalo Trail: The Impending Storm (1869) - Albert Bierstadt
Buffalo Trail: The Impending Storm (1869) – Albert Bierstadt
Thomas Moran
Green River Cliffs, Wyoming (1881) – Thomas Moran

I’ve always been a fan of John Singer Sargent, and I especially love his painting Repose.

Repose (1911) - John Singer Sargent
Repose (1911) – John Singer Sargent
Wind from the Sea, tempera on hardboard (1947) - Andrew Wyeth
Wind from the Sea, tempera on hardboard (1947) – Andrew Wyeth
Breezing Up (A Fair Wind) (1876) - Winslow Homer
Breezing Up (A Fair Wind) (1876) – Winslow Homer

Being a lover of all things Spanish, Toby seeks out the Francisco de Goya paintings.

Senora Sabasa Garcia (c. 1806/1811) - Francisco de Goya
Senora Sabasa Garcia (c. 1806/1811) – Francisco de Goya
another hall at the National Gallery of Art
another hall at the National Gallery of Art

Finally, we stop to see Leonardo da Vinci’s Ginevra de’ Benci.  According to the brochure, “Ginevra’s face displays the delicate translucence of porcelain.  Behind her, the misty landscape assumes a soft, atmospheric effect.  Perhaps an engagement portrait, this is the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in North America.”

Ginerva de' Benci (c. 1474/1478) - Leonardo da Vinci
Ginevra de’ Benci (c. 1474/1478) – Leonardo da Vinci

As Toby doesn’t have much time, she wants to have lunch, so we head to Penn Quarter, a short walk, where we have a fabulous lunch at oyamel cocina mexicana.  According to the website: “Oyamel Cocina Mexicana combines Mexico’s rich regional diversity with the modern urban atmosphere of Mexico City: antojitos—traditional snacks or small plates—authentic and creative tacos, ceviches, and impressive desserts.” We’re served up some chips and fresh guacamole and I order camarones al mojo de ajo negro, or “wild caught Gulf Coast white shrimp sautéed with shallots, árbol chile, poblano pepper, lime and sweet aged black garlic.”  We also order some papas al mole:  “José Andrés’ favorite potato fries in a mole poblano sauce of almonds, chiles and a touch of chocolate, topped with Mexican cream and queso fresco.”  Yum!!

The restaurant’s decor is festive, with butterflies galore, flowers on the ceilings, Mexican writing on the walls, and Mexican masks.

butterflies at Oyamel
butterflies at Oyamel

After lunch, we make our way to the nearest metro station (Archives – Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter), where we come upon the Navy Memorial. We don’t even realize what it is at first until we see the metro sign that says “Navy Memorial.” 🙂 According to the website, “the United States Navy Memorial honors the men and women of the United States Navy – past, present and future.”

Captain John Paul Jones
Captain John Paul Jones
the fountain at Navy Memorial Plaza
the fountain at Navy Memorial Plaza

Finally, we get on the yellow/green line, where we hop the train to L’Enfant Plaza; there we transfer to the Silver line to Reston, where we part ways after a brief but enjoyable meeting.

What a lovely day, and I really enjoyed meeting another of my blogging friends in real life! 🙂

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27 thoughts on “an outing with a fellow blogger: the national gallery of art, oyamel, & the navy memorial

  1. Love this art tour! I, too, like Cezanne, but even more I like Cassatt and Seurat. But that little dancer by Degas stole my heart. I don’t know why, but I had no idea he did sculpture. Thanks for the lesson today!

    1. Thanks so much! And thanks for dropping by. I’m glad you liked the tour of the National Gallery of Art. Yes, Cassatt and Seurat are wonderful too. As someone who has not a lick of artistic talent, I’m always in awe of these amazing artists.
      It is always fun to meet a fellow blogger. I’ve lost count now of how many I’ve met! 🙂

  2. yay!! I love all the photos you took, I feel like I walked through the museum again. You have many that I don’t have. fun!! Yes, I think we did meet on your other blog. or I might have seen you comment on another blog(Jo’s or Marianne’s?) and I found you that way? Thanks also for filling in some details that I missed. I should go update my post now 🙂

    1. Thanks, Toby. I’m glad you like the pictures; I’m always disappointed with museum pictures as no matter how much I try to center them, they’re always all askew! I got some of my details from your blog as well. We’re helping each other. 🙂 It took me forever to look up all those paintings on the National Gallery of Art website!!
      Hope all is well in Minnesota. Have a happy Thanksgiving! It’ll be upon us soon. 🙂

    1. I love the museum too, Lynda, and I should visit it more since I live in northern Virginia. I think I’ll make a big effort to visit the Smithsonian museums more over this coming winter, when it’s good to be indoors!

  3. Isn’t it fun to meet blogging friends. It always feels like we’ve known each other forever. My favourite Impressionist painter is Renoir. A few years ago I saw an exhibition of his work and it was so beautiful.

  4. Thank you for the excellent art tour. The Degas sculpture is very striking – I can see why people might want to look at it. I think my favourite Impressionist might be Cezanne, but it’s a hard decision. There is something about the Wind from the Sea painting that I find striking – I don’t think I would want to own it, but the curtains are so realistic!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the tour of the art gallery, Elaine. I loved that Degas sculpture. It was so elegant and realistic. I like that Wind from the Sea painting too. I always love curtains blowing in a breeze in real life, and that painting invokes that feeling. 🙂

      1. We could. It might be better to email. I don’t want to put my email on here, but you can send me one through the contact form on my About me page (click on the coral circle with lines on the upper right of my blog for the menu). Then we can email each other. 🙂

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