National Gallery 3 – Corcoran 0

© Edward Hopper

© Edward Hopper

WOW! I am bowled over by the National Galleries offerings this Fall. Not one but three fabulous shows have coalesced under one roof and I think the National Gallery is knocking the socks off the Corcoran in offerings that are both popular and palatable. I feel really lucky to be living in this fantastic city right now.

For the classicists amongst us, there is the J.M.W. Turner Exhibit:

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Rising from a modest background, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) became the leading British artist of his era. Over the course of six decades, he transformed the genre of landscape through works that proclaimed him heir to the old masters even while they heralded a new and visionary direction in 19th-century painting. Known for his technical brilliance and startling use of light and color, he incorporated learned references to literature, mythology, and historical events in his pictures. His commitment to the idea that watercolor equaled oil painting in complexity and expressive power raised the standard for others working in the medium. And his exquisitely rendered works, heralded for their virtuosity, inspired generations of artists.

National Gallery Senior Curator of Photographs Sarah Greenough outdoes herself by creating in one show what appears to be a fabulous amalgam of known and unknown photographers in a survey of the American snapshot which is on my hit list this week as soon as i can clear the proverbial rubble off the desk. You’ll see the usual suspects here: Warhol, Frank, Kertesz, Evans, Winogrand, Cartier-Bresson, Lange, but she combines this with vernacular photography. Review later this week.

And lastly, HOPPER. I love this guys’ narrative painting style and its melancholy. I’m really excited to familiarize myself with some lesser known paintings than Boulevard of Broken Dreams. I’m told by friends that his work kept improving with age and his best stuff is from his 60’s and 70’s. I can’t wait to see the trajectory of his career and though Hopper is a fairly well-known artist, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a piece of his in-person.

Returning from travels so have much catching up to do, but will be sharing when I have a chance to peruse the hallowed halls of the N.G. For those of you visiting Ansel and Annie, over at the Corcoran, I’ll buy you a cup of joe with the $16 bucks I saved by revisiting my Sierra Club day planner c. 1996.

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