We had another great museum trip to The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C.
Though this museum does not have an extensive collection we very much enjoyed our visit and had time to revisit some of the Smithsonian museums on the mall. I recommend that you get into D.C. and park before 10 am to take advantage of early-bird parking specials and have time to visit multiple museums.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts was quite an eye-opener in terms of the large number of very early women artists that were working primary as portrait painters in the 17th century. They also have many notable women painters from the 18th, 19th, and 20th century. Including works from some of the most famous women artists, such as, Elisabeth Louise Vigee-Lebrun, Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo and Lois Mailou Jones one of our local greats in the art world. Ms. Jones was also an early friend, and collector of Ephrem Kouakou‘s work.
What I enjoyed most was being introduced to many exceptional women painters and sculptors that I was completely unaware of. For instance the famous stage actress Sara Bernhardt was also an accomplished sculptor. Artist Alice Bailly was working in cubism in 1917! Artist Amy Sherald does amazing portraits with a sense of whimsy combined with much deeper meanings about self image and race. Lilly Martin Spencer did a unique painting in 1864 of her family picnic that also has may messages about race and the state of the nation following the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. The Frida Kahlo self portrait is also historically interesting because she is holding a letter in her hand that states it’s a gift to their friend and house guest Leon Trotsky. Trotsky was one of the founders of the USSR. He was hiding out from Joe Stalin with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera in Mexico. Elizabeth Adela Armstrong Forbes 1900 Will-o-the-wisp multimedia painting, bronze, and woodwork is an amazing Art Nouveau piece. The work of Spanish surrealist Remedios Varo is amazing. She has three pieces in the museum’s collection.
I have included images of some of our favorite pieces. Click on the image to see an enlarged view. Mouse over the image to see the artist’s name and title. There is no substitute for viewing original art in person. If you get the chance visit The National Museum of Women in the Arts.