Introduction

National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

April 8, 2011 through September 5, 2011

Washington, D.C., is well-known for the portraits in its public collections, but less well-known are the portraits that reside in private collections. Indeed, many of the works in “Capital Portraits: Treasures from Washington Private Collections" have not been published previously or displayed outside the homes of the owners, who are residents of the nationís capital and its immediate suburbs.

The lenders to this exhibition possess portraits for three reasons: they inherited portraits of family members; they collected portraits for their historical or artistic merit; or they sat for their own likeness. Like all portraits, these works reflect the coming together of a sitter, an artist, and at times, a patron, and provide a window into the life of the sitter, the career of the artist, and the era in which they lived.

This exhibition has been generously supported by the late Robert L. McNeil Jr. Additional support has been provided by The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts and Isobel Ellis.


Image of book cover

Detailed essays on each portrait in the exhibition are found in the catalogue Capital Portraits: Treasures from Washington Private Collections by Carolyn Kinder Carr and Ellen G. Miles

Copies are for sale at the National Portrait Gallery's museum shop (202.633.5450) or through Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press (clothbound, 200 pages, color illustrations, $49.95).


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