The cherry blossom tours have ended. Now is the time to enjoy springtime in D.C. before the hordes return for summer.
Two artists, Wyeth and Whistler, works opened at the National Gallery of Art and the Sackler Gallery. Both exhibitions display works of various scenes viewed from the window of the artist studio. “Andrew Wyeth: Looking Out, Looking In” exhibition is at the National Gallery of Art from May 4 to November 30, 2014. “An American in London: Whistler and the Thames” exhibition is at the Freer/Sackler Gallery from May 3 to Aug.17, 2014.
Andrew Wyeth most well-known painting is “Christina’s World” with Christina lying in a pasture looking toward her house and barn. However, Wyeth and many others feel that his studies on windows, void of human forms, are his best works. His fascination with windows is explored for the first time with 60 tempera paintings, watercolors, and drawings. The inspiration for the exhibition is “Wind from the Sea” (1947). This painting with billowing gossamer curtains is at the entrance of the exhibit and is the cover of the exhibition catalogue “Andrew Wyeth: Looking Out, Looking In”. Viewing the image one can feel the breeze and maybe smell the sea.
Another fave of mine is “Cold Spell” (1965) a watercolor of a snow scene viewed out from a window built into thick stucco walls. The white, slate blue/black and dirty beige colors along with hanging icicles exude coldness. The exhibition includes preliminary stretches along with the final work. Often Wyeth starts with a person looking out a window; then pares down the scene to the window. His tempera “Off at Sea” (1972) dramatically shows his painting process in which he eventually cut out the human.
Related auditorium lecture programs at the National Gallery of Art:
May 18 at 2pm: “Andrew Wyeth: A Spoken Self-Portrait”
June 15 at 2pm: “Andrew Wyeth at the Movies: The Story of an Obsession”
The Smithsonian’s Slackler Gallery’s “An American in London: Whistler and the Thames” is the first major exhibition of Whistler’s Victorian London period. At the age of 25, American artist, James McNeill Whistler arrived in London in 1859. This exhibition is the Sackler Gallery’s first international loan exhibition of 80 paintings, prints, drawings, and pastels where Whistler documents the changing environment and light of the Thames.
His studio window looked out onto the Thames River and the Battersea Bridge. For twenty years he drew on what he viewed from his window. His early art exhibits the gritty river life of workers, work boats, and bridges in dull brown and silver colors. His “Nocturne: Battersea Bridge” (1872-1873), a pastel on brown paper, is a lovely example of Whistler’s style change from a realistic to a poetic view.
Lectures & Tours (call 202-633-1000):
May 14th from 8 until 9:30pm: “Webinar: Whistler and Kiyochika: Modernity, Melancholy, and the Nocturne.
May 15th at 2:15 pm: Tour: Whistler and the Peacock Room.
Performance: July 19 at 2 pm in Meyer Auditorium: “Entertaining Whistler’s London: the British Players” (pre-concert gallery tour at 1:15 pm)
Family Program: June 14, 15, 21, and 22 at 2pm: “ ImaginAsia: London Nights with Whistler”