Inside the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art

Last Sunday, I decided to regenerate my soul with a visit to the newly reopened East Wing of the National Gallery Of Art. Three years of closure has whet my appetite for the modern art masters I studied while at Parsons the New School. Some of my art heros grace the walls and I am soaking them in. 

Here is whirlwind tour of delicious highlights.

When you enter the main floor, you are greeted by several large sculptures. Max Ernst’s Capricorn caught my attention. 

Max Ernst, Capricorn, 1948/1975

Look up. You don’t want to miss Anthony Caro’s National Gallery Ledge Piece perched at treetop level looking down at you.

Anthony Caro, National Gallery Ledge Piece, 1978

Everyone knows Edward Steichen as an innovative photographer. But did you know the man could also paint alongside the best of the modern masters?

Edward Steichen, Le Tournesol (The Sunflower) 1920

Light reigns supreme in photography and painting. Here is a Charles Sheeler piece that exemplifies it.

Charles Sheeler, Classic Landscape, 1931

There are many photographs that show the history of the medium changing from strict representation to interpretative abstracts. Alvin Langdon Coburn left us with many such images.

Alvin Langdon Coburn, Vortograph, 1917

Cubism is readily represented in the East Wing. I was particularly drawn to John Storrs’ bronze and silver sculpture.

John Storrs, Le Sergent De Ville, 1919/1923

Jasper Johns takes painting 3D.

Jasper Johns, Field Painting, 1964/65

No self-respecting modern art collection can be without Wayne Theibaud’s classic cake paintings.

Wayne Theibaud, Cakes, 1963

Here’s a surprise. A curvy Al Held.

Al Held, Black Angel, 1964

Ever wonder where Jackson Pollock’s most famous painting lives? Fortunately for Americans, it’s right here in our National Gallery of Art.

Jackson Pollock, Number 1 (Lavender Mist) 1950

Rounding  a corner, I found myself face-to-face with Max Beckmann’s The Argonauts. The museum visitor looks as if he could step inside the painting with his black hat and jacket. 

Max Beckmann, The Argonauts, 1949/50

Inside another gallery I am delighted by a well known Fernand Leger. 

Fernand Leger, Two Women, 1922

The last painting I leave you with is by Kay Sage. I was thrilled to see her represented in the surrealist wing. She doesn’t get the credit she deserves.

Kay Sage, A Finger on the Drum, 1940


Fortunately, the East Wing also has a modern photography collection. I went in that gallery, but there is more to talk about there than I can fit into this blog post, so stay tuned to the next installment.


Whirlwind Tour of The East Wing Of The National Gallery Of Art

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