Saturday, September 3, 2011

The National Art Museum and The American History Museum

Art and American History Museums! Can it get any better?  I have to repeat what my friend Sherry said as we were strolling around through all the hallways.  Nothing can compare to seeing good art in person.  While computers and cameras are marvelous, it's being able to see and in some cases even touch the actual brush strokes made by the artist that really bring a piece of art to life.  We had a wonderful time and I was able to photograph many of my favorites that I'd only seen in books and magazines until now.  Hope you enjoy the tour!
The National Art Museum

"Boating Party - Mary Cassatt"
Although not one of my most favorite pieces of art, I enjoyed the movement of the little child in its mother's arms - anxious to get loose!  That never changes down through the ages, does it?
"The Loge - Mary Cassat"
I loved the colors used in this portrait of two ladies at the theater, although the one in front doesn't look terribly excited about the prospect of a dance with anyone in particular.  Perhaps the one she had "hoped" would be there was not?  As you can see, I'm a romantic at heart!
"Landscape Near Paris - Paul Cezanne"
A favorite; I love the colors used here.
"A Friendly Call - William Chase"
Another favorite!  I imagine the woman is the mother or mother-in-law.  I also like the way pillows are strewn on the floor and in the chair!
"Still Life - Henri Latour"
So peaceful and "ordinary" looking.  Nothing like a good book, a cup of tea and a healthy snack!
"Banks of the Seine - Claude Monet"
A favorite artist!  I love the colors he uses!  "Waterlilies" is one of my most favorite pieces of his!
"Ms. Mary Ellison With Fan - Mary Cassatt"
Mary Ellison was a close friend of Mary Cassatt's. It's believed she's also the one in the portrait above of the two ladies at the theater.  Seeing this portrait reminds me of how far women have come in the last century!!
"Girl With a Hoop - Pierre-Auguste Renoir"
Lovely colors and subject!  I love the stark contrast of the black shoes!  And they're still in style today! Remember - there's NOTHING new under the sun!!
"Girl With a Watering Can - Pierre-Auguste Renoir"
More beautiful blues and a sweet little girl!  Reminds me of my girls and my granddaughter, always wanting to help me water the plants using their little watering cans! 
"Girl in White - Vincent Van Gogh"
Although I rarely enjoy Van Gogh's work (it's too bold and stark for my taste), I really like this one!  He's left the little white strokes (like beads) raised, to make the fabric stand out. 
"Mr. Theodore Duret - Edouard Vuillard" 
Of course, any picture of someone with a cat deserves a second look!  And I really like the color of those walls behind him!  Fantastic!

The American History Museum

Beaded Papoose and Child's Beaded Shoes
Beautiful Beaded Bag
Can you imagine the time it took to bead these articles, not to mention needles were very scarce. They probably used fine bones instead.  And it isn't as if they could run down to Hobby Lobby to get the beads they wanted!  Oh, and then there was washing and cooking and hunting and feeding! Amazing!
 Another beautifully beaded bag, in my favorite pink colors! Naturally this also caught my attention because of the "swastika" shape on the top of it. I had heard this symbol was used hundreds of years before the Nazis made it such a reviled emblem, but I hadn't seen evidence of this.  Mr. Google informs us that the word swastika came from the Sanskrit word svastika, meaning any lucky or auspicious object, and in particular a mark made on persons and things to denote good luck.

Woman's Ceremonial Dress - Fabulous Design!!

More beautiful colors!! This looks like a forerunner of our book bags!
I've read that moccasins are extremely comfortable to wear.
A man's beaded shirt - again for ceremonial occasions.
A beaded shawl!  Talk about a work of love!
A beaded woman's dress.
Another beaded bag
A more decoratively beaded man's shirt
Another man's shirt
Beaded children's shoes and beaded animals.  One is a turtle and the other looks like a salamander.
Fantastically beaded vest! This blue is fabulous!
Another beaded vest

Beaded Vest in Blue with Red Bead Trim
More bead work.  I love the art work here! It still amazes me to think that we as a general population thought of the American Indians as savages!  I suppose when you want something that someone else has (i.e., land in this case), it's easy to find fault with them and drive them out of society.
I think of this as a very dark chapter in American history. This was a very dark chapter in American history.
These beaded leggings immediately reminded me of exquisite lace; my favorite article in the entire museum!  It appeared to have a very marked Spanish influence in the overall design as well.
Now is this fun or what?!?!?!  I love it!!  It's a Day of the Dead Skull.  The colors are fabulous!  The Day of the Dead (Spanish - "Día de los Muertos") is celebrated in many societies. Mr. Google informs us that the holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it attains the quality of a National Holiday. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and graves with these as gifts.
It reminds me of how Americans used to celebrate Memorial Day, visiting cemeteries of those who had died.  I remember going to cemeteries with my grandparents when I was young.  We visited the graves and cleaned them up, then we had a picnic lunch on a quilt Gran had made.  Afterward, we kids got to play in a nearby lake while the adults cleaned everything up and rested.  Are we peoples of the earth so very different from each other?   I truly don't think so.
Another fabulous example! I've thought of incorporating Day of the Dead art in some of my own pieces!
A beautiful white example!  I love the flowers for the eyes! We're so far removed from death in our society.  "Way back when" the bodies were kept in our houses for viewing and buried on our own land for the most part.  And of course people died far easier than they do today, from so many things that would be considered minor scrapes today.  So death was very much a part of everyday life back then.
Now the body is whisked away to a mortuary and made to look as "alive" as possible.  And we see movies where actors are killed over and over again, only to be resurrected either in the same movie or another one soon following.  I believe many people fear death because it is no longer such a large part of our lives.  I think we've become desensitized to it in a way, as if it can't possibly be a permanent thing. Not a wise thing at all.

Beautiful feathered decorations!
One last feathered decoration!

Well, that's it! Hope you enjoyed the tour! I know we certainly had a great time.  It's wonderful to be able to see so many things from our history.  And there are so many museums we didn't even get to!  So....have to make a return trip some time!  Darn!

Take care everyone and have a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend! Jan

1 comment:

  1. Amazing! And very informative Jan, I love the Indian garments, and the Girl pictures. I would love to be able to go through this museum, what an awesome experience.