Tag Archives: art museum

My few hours in Washington D.C.

If you knew you would only have a few hours in our nation’s capital, how would you spend them?  I knew immediately what I wanted to do when I had that opportunity recently.  I lived in the D.C. area in the late 80s and I visited Washington D.C. several times during those years. The National Gallery of Art left such an impression on me that I knew I wanted to come back while I was in northern Virginia.  I was taking care of my elderly mother while my sister and her husband took a well deserved vacation. They are Mom’s usual care givers. My mother goes to an adult day care center during the day so I thought it would be best to keep her routine and that gave me the chance to have some fun while I was there. And it was a great day!  Even if it was just a few hours.

I had plans to meet Cathy of nomad, interrupted at the museum between 10:00 and 10:30. We met in the blogosphere and she had said to let her know if I was ever in town.  Traffic was awful that morning which caused me to be further delayed. I decided to park at the new Reston metro station because it was close to the day care center, about 10-15 minutes away.  The parking level I entered was full so I headed down to the next level and found many open spots but they all had this reserved sign above them: Reserved from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. By this time it was 9:57 so I parked and waited and called my friend to let her know I wasn’t even on the train yet :( It was another 5 minutes to get to the train and about 8 more minutes before the train left.  I did finally arrive in D.C.!!!  I called Cathy when I entered the museum and she showed up minutes later.  Finally we meet!

I remember that this gallery had a nice French impressionism collection and I wanted to be sure to see at least these paintings.  It’s also fun to go to a museum with others because you get their perspective and learn new things. Cathy picked up a brochure of some special items in the museum, and one was near the 7th Street entrance where I came in,  Degas’s Little Dancer sculpture.  I love Degas so this was a treat I wasn’t expecting. Bonus!  There were two that looked nearly identical in stance, one was made of plaster, the other of bronze. Click on an image to see a larger view.

Other fabulous works of art that we saw:

I loved all the Monet that I saw but these were my particular favorites. Notice the artist at work making a copy of one of them.

I loved the placement of this Whistler painting:

Other beautiful paintings in the French Impressionism section:

Other scenes from the museum:

The last two paintings are ones we stumbled upon as we were leaving to go find lunch.  They are by Goya, one of my favorite Spanish artists.

We had a fabulous lunch at Oyamel Cocina Mexicana just a couple of blocks from the museum.  Check out my post at the link about that experience!  After lunch it was about time for me to head back to take care of Mom.  It was a fun way to spend a few hours in D.C. and it was great to meet another blogger and world traveler there. Wonderful art, food and company.  You really can’t go wrong with that combination. I highly recommend this museum for art lovers. There is something for everyone here.


Filed under Travel, Washington D.C.

A day at the art museum

On our recent trip to Duluth I saw billboards for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts along the highway.  The one that grabbed my attention said Picasso.  And I love Picasso!  And so here is an instance where marketing actually worked.  That billboard gave me the desire to visit this fine museum again.  I believe the last time I went was on a field trip with my daughter’s 2nd grade class.  She’s now in 7th grade so that tells you how long it’s been.  Alas, I saw no Picasso!  We will just have to go back again soon.  There is too much to see in one visit.  And since it’s free, all the more reason to visit more often.

Since it was noon we decided to have lunch in their restaurant, the Mezzanine before perusing the art.  We grabbed a museum guide so that we could decide over lunch what we wanted to see.  Here’s hubby waiting for lunch:

We each got their combo special today.  You had your choice of soup or salad, or soup and sandwich.  I had one, he had the other.  He chose the potato bacon soup with a half chopped salmon sandwich.  I chose the wild mushroom soup with their roasted beets salad.  We each had a cup of chianti as well. We were pretty happy with our choices. I definitely recommend this restaurant even if it’s on the spendy (that’s Minnesotan for pricey) side.  I took photos of our food but mine was too blurry so you only get to see his lunch:

Hanging in the entryway of the museum is a beautiful, bright yellow Chihuly sculpture which can be seen at the restaurant:


We knew we wanted to see the impressionist art but we were intrigued by the Prairie School Architecture and Design section that we saw on the map of the third floor.  Since it was on the way to the impressionism and we love Frank Lloyd Wright we stopped by this exhibit.  We were surprised and delighted to find such an interesting exhibit!  We saw models of Frank Lloyd Wright homes, chairs, a dining table and chairs, windows and doors.  One of the houses was demolished in 1972 and the bench seat was salvaged and rebuilt in the exhibit.  The house overlooked Lake Minnetonka and there is a large photograph behind the window to give the illusion of what it looked like within the actual house.  We spent about 20 minutes here, it was so cool!!  Here is a gallery of some of the things we saw.

I couldn’t resist snapping this great view of downtown Minneapolis:

Downtown Minneapolis from MIA with 24th Street below

Downtown Minneapolis from MIA with 24th Street below

On our way to see impressionist and other art I stopped to capture an architectural view of the museum from the inside:

The museum allows you to photograph anything as long as it’s not on loan and you cannot use a flash.  Luckily there is plenty of light that flash is not needed.  I was able to snap several pieces of art that I enjoyed today.  I hope you enjoy this mini tour of some of the art at the MIA.

Being full with many works of art we decided to call it a day.  On our way out I saw this huge picture of a man at the end of a few successive rooms and thought this was a pretty cool view:

And since we were so close to our favorite music store, The Electric Fetus, we decided to stop in.  I needed to buy the CD by the Grammy winning group “fun” and hubby always needs to check their used vinyl section.  He found two that he absolutely could not live without and I got the one I wanted plus Yo La Tengo’s latest.  Here he is with one of his “prizes” outside the front door:

It was a great outing complete with a nice, warm lunch, some great art and new music to listen to.  If you’re an art lover and live in or are visiting the twin cities, I highly recommend this museum.  What we saw today just barely scratches the surface of all the museum contains.  There is something for everyone here so do stop by!


Filed under Minnesota, Travel