Washington DC, A to Z: Monuments Men Exhibit at the Reynolds Center

The Donald W. Reynolds Center  for American Art and Portraiture is  home to two great museums, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. And it really is an incredible place.

Donald W. Reynolds Center – Washington DC
The Great Hall

This regal space, accentuated by late 19th century architectural highlights was the reception area where President Lincoln and Mrs. Lincoln greeted guests attending the president’s second inaugural ball. The hand laid encaustic tile floor, curving double staircase and soaring vaulted ceilings are sure to captivate your guests.

The Donald W. Reynolds Center is also huge. It takes up two full city blocks with exhibitions spread over 3 floors.  There are so many wonderful things to see, we went there twice during our vacation to Washington DC.

Map of the First Floor of the Reynolds Center
Visitors Guide and Map

On our first visit we stuck to the first floor. At first the Exhibition, Monuments Men: On the Frontline to Save Europe’s Art, 1942-1946confused me. It wasn’t American Art or Portraiture. It turned out that there is even more to the Reynold’s Center. The Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery on the 1st Floor is the exhibition space for the the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.  

The exhibition consists of original photographs, official military records, and letters of seven key Monuments Men. Although I haven’t seen the recent movie, I wasn’t unaware of their mission. The importance of their mission really hit me when I saw these photos.

If I were more organized I’d be able to show you a picture I took of the Madonna of Bruges  in July of 1992. The following is probably a better picture but even it can’t compare to seeing it in person. The Madonna of Bruges is one of the most beautiful statues I have ever seen and Bruges is one of the most beautiful towns I’ve ever been in.

Michelangelos Madonna, Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk in Brugge
ArtMechanic: Wikimedia Commons

For more information, read the article  The True Story of the Monuments Men  by Jim Morrison at Smithsonian.com.

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5 thoughts on “Washington DC, A to Z: Monuments Men Exhibit at the Reynolds Center

  1. I want to see this movie. Another great movie about the art heist during WW2 is called The Train with Burt Lancaster. It is great that there is so much preserved and one can visit this museum

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