The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC is one of my favorite museums. I’ve definitely spent more time at this museum than any other museum and I’ve visited this museum the most.
Since we have been in Europe, the new presidential portrait for Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have been completed and they are now on display. Now that we are back in DC, we went early one morning to see them before the crowds arrived.
Since there was SO much discussion on Michelle Obama’s portrait, it had to be moved to a different location for crowd control!
My favorite presidential portrait is President Bill Clinton’s portrait. It is HUGE. Kind of like his personality! And it has this modern and digital and pixellated feel to it and I think that fits the era he was president. After all, digital photography really started to take off during the Clinton presidency. And as a purist film photographer back then, I never ever thought I would “go digital.” Ha! And remember Palm Pilots? I was living in NYC and of course had to have one of those. Crazy to think that the iPhone wasn’t even in the picture back then.
I encourage you to go check out all of the presidential portraits. I won’t give them away by posting all of them here. It is fun to see how formal the portraits used to be. Reagan was the first casual portrait and it is really a good one.
And check out some of my other favorite areas of the museum – the 3rd and 4th floor mezzanines have drawers with miniatures that I love. The Painted and Photographic Miniatures (from 1750 to 1920) was my all time favorite exhibit (I’m not sure if it is still on display but they should have some painted miniatures in drawers up there).
I also love the Champions and Bravo sections on the 4th floor. My favorites there are the Leonard Bernstein portrait and the Tallulah Bankhead portrait (again, I won’t post my photos of these – you have to go see them in person).
On the 3rd floor, I always stop and admire the Juliette Gordon Low portrait. The painting has so much detail – especially in Juliette’s beautiful gown:
Near the G Street entrance, there is a huge piece of art made from US license plates that I love – can you read what it says?
The Kogod Courtyard is a beautiful (and usually quiet) place to sit and people watch, read or enjoy a light meal from the museum cafe. There is a really nice water feature built into the floor – it looks like there are pools of water but it is just water on top of the tiles so you can walk across it.