Green Line Red Line Yellow Line
Mr. Lincoln's Washington: A Civil War Portfolio
December 13, 2013 - January 25, 2015
Large-format reproductions of original photographs, prints, drawings, and maps document how the Civil War affected patterns of life in the District of Columbia, especially the area around the Patent Office Building, which is now home to the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum. Included are images of forts and hospitals; the Navy Yard and the Sixth Street Wharf; and landmarks such as the Capitol, White House, Ford’s Theatre, and the Old Capitol Prison, as well as images of notable Washington personalities—statesmen, spies, soldiers and nurses—who gave the city a sense of national purpose, glamour, and intrigue during four years of war.
Yousuf Karsh: American Portraits, Part I
Now - April 27, 2014
Recent Acquisitions, 1st Floor, North
Iconic photographs by Yousuf Karsh (1908–2002) portray Americans who have distinguished themselves in fields as diverse as business, medicine, entertainment, politics, and the arts: artist Georgia O’Keeffe, physician and virologist Jonas Salk, singer Marian Anderson, actress Grace Kelly, businesswoman Elizabeth Arden, architect I. M. Pei, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, artist Isamu Noguchi, and others. This is the museum's first exhibition devoted entirely to the work of this internationally recognized portrait photographer.
Part II will be on view May 2-November 2, 2014, while photographs are being rotated.
Four Female Supreme Court Justices
2nd Floor, Rotunda
On view is a life-size portrait by Nelson Shanks of the four female Supreme Court justices: Sandra Day O'Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.
Label text in English and Spanish.
Dancing the Dream
Now - July 13, 2014
Images of choreographers, impresarios, and performers, including Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Michael Jackson, Savion Glover, Balanchine, Baryshnikov, Beyonce, Isadora Duncan, Agnes deMille, and Lady Gaga, reveal how dance has captured the nation’s culture in motion. From the late 19th century to today, dance has drawn from the boundless commotion of cultures to represent the rhythm and beat of American life.
One Life: Martin Luther King Jr.
Now - June 1, 2014
1st Floor, East
Under the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), non-violent protest became the defining feature of the modern civil rights movement in America. In this exhibition, trace the trajectory of King’s career, from his rise to prominence as the leader of the national civil rights movement to his work as an anti-war activist and advocate for those living in poverty through historic photographs, prints, paintings and memorabilia. This exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and King’s stirring “I Have a Dream speech” and features buttons and the program from the March, original art from the Time magazine cover featuring King as Man of the Year, and Time issues covering his assassination and funeral.
Video segments from CBS news coverage of the March on Washington.
Meade Brothers: Pioneers in American Photography
Now - June 1, 2014
1st Floor, East
Explore the lives and careers of brothers Charles R. Meade and Henry W. M. Meade, who, along with such of their contemporaries as Mathew Brady and Southworth and Hawes, are recognized as leading members of the first generation of American studio photographers. Examine Meade brothers’ daguerreotypes from the Gallery’s substantial collection, as well as related objects from public institutions and private collections, including a large-format daguerreotype of Sam Houston and two daguerreotypes of Louis Daguerre. This exhibition is thought to be the first dedicated solely to the work of these 19th-century American photographers.
Mr. TIME: Portraits by Boris Chaliapin
Now - January 5, 2014
2nd Floor, North Corridor
On view are 26 portraits by artist Boris Chaliapin, most of which appeared on Time magazine's cover during his 28-year career. Chaliapin was the portrait artist Time magazine’s editors turned to first when they needed a cover in a hurry. As Time’s most prolific artist, he created 413 covers for the publication. He could execute excellent likenesses in as little as 12 hours; record speed for the years between 1942 and 1970, when he was with the magazine. Week after week, millions of faithful readers recognized Chaliapin’s familiar signature on the cover, and his coworkers aptly nicknamed him “Mr. TIME.”
Related online exhibition: Cover Art: The TIME Collection at the National Portrait Gallery
Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2013
Now - February 23, 2014
2nd Floor, West Wing
The National Portrait Gallery presents 48 of the finalists' works that were selected from the third triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. The works were produced by artists across the nation and include portraits in such traditional media as oil paintings, drawings, and photographs, as well as more surprising materials such as rice, glitter, thread, and video. The winner of the competition receives the grand prize of $25,000 and an opportunity to create a portrait for the Portrait Gallery's permanent collection. The competition invited professional artists age 18 and over working in the figurative arts to submit portraits completed after January 1, 2010. The public had the opportunity to vote for its favorite work among the finalists to receive the People's Choice Award.
The two winning portraits from the National Portrait Gallery's first Teen Portrait Competition—by McNeel Mann (age 14) of Alaska and Allen Chiu (age 17) from California—are on view near the exhibition entrance.
Related publication: $14.95
Mobile app: www.npg.si.edu/app/
Bound for Freedom's Light: African Americans and the Civil War
Now - March 2, 2014
1st Floor, East
Drawing principally from images in the museum's collection, this exhibition explores the roles individual African Americans played during the Civil War and focuses attention on the impact of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Among the featured stories are those of Frederick Douglass; Martin Delaney; Sojourner Truth; and Gordon, who escaped from enslavement on a Louisiana plantation to join a black regiment and fight for the Union.
Mathew Brady's Photographs of Union Generals
Now - May 31, 2015
1st Floor, North
Although Mathew Brady may be best known for his photographic documentation of the Civil War, his New York and Washington galleries also did a brisk business throughout the conflict by producing studio portraits of the ever-changing roster of Union army generals. Featuring modern albumen prints made from the original Brady negatives in the museum's Frederick Hill Meserve Collection, this installation includes portraits of many of the North’s military leaders, from George McClellan and Ambrose Burnside to William Tecumseh Sherman and Ulysses Grant.
The Struggle for Justice
2nd Floor, West
This permanent exhibition showcases major cultural and political figures—from key 19th-century historical figures to contemporary leaders—who struggled to achieve civil rights for disenfranchised or marginalized groups. On view are more than 40 photographs, paintings, posters, buttons, and sculptures, including portraits of Civil Rights leaders Frederick Douglass, Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King Jr., and Andrew Young; women's-rights advocates Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Betty Friedan; Native American activist Leonard Crow Dog; cultural icons Jackie Robinson and singer Marian Anderson; United Farm Workers organizer César Chávez; gay and lesbian rights leaders; Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver; and Japanese American activist Fred T. Korematsu.
A video created exclusively for the exhibition and narrated by Soledad O'Brien is also featured.
Renovating a Landmark: From Patent Office to Reynolds Center
Historic Fabric Room, 1st Floor, near lockers
This small exhibition commemorates the opening of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard, the final phase of a major renovation of the National Historic Landmark building that houses the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. It highlights aspects of the renovation with photographs, architectural artifacts from the building, and objects discovered during the excavation of the courtyard. Also included are historic images of the building, a 7-foot segment of one of the 19th-century cast iron fountains from the courtyard, and an architect's model of the building.
Related publication: Temple of Invention: History of a National Landmark by Charles Robertson, who is also the guest curator of the exhibition: $19.95 (paper)
Note: This National Historic Landmark building was formerly the Patent Office Building.
Bravo! and Champions
3rd Floor, South, Mezzanines
Two exhibitions feature particular themes in American life:
- BRAVO! showcases individuals who have brought the performing arts to life, beginning with P.T. Barnum, who raised the curtain on modern entertainment in the late 19th century and continuing to the present.
- Champions showcases American sports figures whose impact has extended beyond the ring, the court, and the field to become a part of the larger story of the life and culture of our nation.
Note: A lively combination of portraits, artifacts, memorabilia, and videos enhances both exhibitions.
American Origins, 1600-1900
1st Floor, East
In 17 galleries and alcoves, this exhibition chronologically arranged starts from the days of contact between Native Americans and European explorers through the struggles of independence to the Gilded Age. Major figures from Pocahontas to Chief Joseph, Sam Adams to Henry Clay, and Nathaniel Hawthorne to Harriet Beecher Stowe to Juliette Gordon Low are included. Three of the galleries are devoted to the Civil War, examining this conflict in depth. Complementing this section is a group of modern photographic prints produced from Mathew Brady's original negatives. Highlights from its daguerreotype collection—the earliest practical form of photography—also are on view.
Portraits of Charles Willson Peale, John Ewing, Benjamin Franklin, and others go on view September 11, 2013, in a section titled Franklin and the Nurturing of Science in Early America.
Lunder Conservation Center
3rd Floor Mezzanine & 4th Floor, West
The Lunder Conservation Center—shared with the Smithsonian American Art Museum—is the first facility that provides a unique opportunity for the public to view through glass walls conservators at work in five different labs and studios examining, treating, and preserving art: Frames Studio, Paintings Studio, Paintings Lab, Paper Lab, and Objects Lab.
3rd Floor, South
Four galleries showcase the major cultural and political hallmarks of the 20th century. Paintings, sculpture, photographs, and prints portray those who were at the center of these moments. People from a range of backgrounds—Jane Addams, Douglas MacArthur, Robert F. Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor, Michael Jackson, Denyce Graves, Marilyn Monroe, Jim Henson, among others—tell the story of America's 20th century and beyond.
Artist Lincoln Schatz's The Network, a video group portrait featuring 89 people (mostly Washington power players), was added December 11, 2012.
2nd Floor, South
This exhibition displays multiple images of the 43 presidents of the United States, including the greatest historical painting in our nation's history, Gilbert Stuart's "Lansdowne" portrait of George Washington, and two life masks of Abraham Lincoln. Also included are whimsical sculptures of Presidents Johnson, Carter, and Nixon by caricaturist Pat Oliphant. Five presidents are given expanded attention because of their significant impact on the office: Washington, Andrew Jackson, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Audio interpretive materials augment the exhibition.
The America’s Presidents app is available on the iPad at www.AppStore.com/AmericasPresidents.
Jo Davidson: Biographer in Bronze
2nd Floor, North
On view are 14 bronze and terra-cotta portraits made by renowned American sculptor Jo Davidson between 1908 and 1946, including depictions of Gertrude Stein, Franklin D. Roosevelt, artist John Marin, and Lincoln Steffens.
Outdoor Sculptures: Daguerre Memorial
Outdoors, on the 7th Street side of the building
Daguerre Memorial (1890): This bronze and marble statue by Jonathan Scott Hartley (1845-1912) features a small relief bust of Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre in front of a large globe on top of a curved pedestal base. A female figure of Fame frames his face with a laurel garland, while another garland encircles a globe to exemplify the universality of photography. On loan from the National Museum of American History.