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Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color
Now - July 28, 2013
Special Exhibitions Gallery, 1st Floor
This exhibition fully examines the extraordinary career of Thomas Day (1801-about 1861), a free African American who owned and operated one of North Carolina’s most successful cabinet shops prior to the Civil War. On view are 37 pieces of his furniture and photographs of his architectural work. Day's surviving furniture and architectural woodwork still represent the finest of 19th-century craftsmanship and aesthetics. The exhibition also includes 3 period quilts from the museum's collection, a Bible owned by Day, historic photographs, and contemporary photographs of architectural interiors he designed.
Related book: $42
Grand Salon Installation: Paintings from the Smithsonian American Art Museum
Grand Salon, 2nd Floor
On view are 70 paintings from the 1840s to the 1930s—landscapes, portraits, and allegorical works—by 51 American artists, including Edward Mitchell Bannister, Romaine Brooks, Elliott Daingerfield, Daniel Garber, William Morris Hunt, George Inness, Homer Dodge Martin, Albert Pinkham Ryder, Abbott Handerson Thayer, John Henry Twachtman, and Irving R. Wiles. The room is installed salon style, with paintings hung one-atop-another and side by side.
Visitor Guide featuring short biographies of the artists: $16.95
Craft Galleries, 2nd Floor
The permanent collection of the Renwick Gallery, a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, features contemporary American crafts in glass, ceramics, metal, wood, and fiber. Highlights include:
- Reclining Dress Impression with Drapery (2009) by Karen LaMonte (b. 1967) (Octagon Room)
- Portal Gates (1974) by Albert Paley (b. 1944)
- Game Fish (1988) by Larry Fuente (b. 1947)
- Bureau of Bureaucracy by Kim Schmahmann (a cabinet sculpture described by the artist as a "contemporary cabinet of curiosities")
- Ghost Clock by Wendell Castle
- The Renwick 30th Anniversary Plate by Irma Starr
2nd Floor, South
The Octagon Room is furnished with paintings from SAAM's collection, including impressionism and the Gilded Age period.