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Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art has long been a favorite place for creative dates, offering strolls through the galleries, free films and concerts, elegant dining in the picturesque Garden Café, and ice skating at the Gallery's Sculpture Garden Ice Rink. This February, in celebration of Valentine's Day and coinciding with Destination DC's inaugural Date Nights DC: A 28-Day Stimulus Plan for Love and Relationships program (www.datenightsdc.org), the Gallery is a hot spot for couples looking for the perfect outing.

Sundays at the Gallery offer the ideal art lovers' rendezvous. Visitors can find inspiration in the collections of two prominent couples who shared a passion for collecting great art: Chester and Maud Dale and Robert and Jane Meyerhoff. After exploring the galleries, hungry patrons may indulge in Chef Michel Richard's signature mousse au chocolat and champagne at Garden Café Français, where a special preconcert menu is served from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., then enjoy a live concert in the verdant West Garden Court.

On Valentine's Day—Sunday, February 14—the free film program Love Letters and Live Wires: England's GPO Film Unit in the 1930s features public service shorts by England's legendary GPO Film Unit, all from the British Film Institute's archival collection. Additionally, on various days throughout the month of February, lecturer Eric Denker leads a 50-minute gallery talk titled Images of Love, relating love stories from works of art in the galleries.

From Impressionism to Modernism: The Chester Dale Collection

The 1962 bequest of Wall Street investor Chester Dale made the National Gallery of Art one of the leading repositories in North America of French art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. From Impressionism to Modernism brings together 84 of the finest European and American paintings that Dale and his wife Maud, an artist and critic, assembled from 1919 through the 1950s.

On view January 31, 2010–July 31, 2011 on the Ground Floor of the West Building, the exhibition and its accompanying book explore the Dales' passion and talent for acquiring great art. Many of the works in the show are among the most renowned masterpieces in the history of art, but due to a stipulation in the bequest, they may be seen only at the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

Check out Chester Dale Collection information, podcasts, a slide show, and an exhibition brochure online at www.nga.gov/exhibitions/daleinfo.shtm.

The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art.

The exhibition is made possible by United Technologies Corporation.

In-kind promotional support is provided by Chef Michel Richard of Citronelle and Central, Washington, DC.

The Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection: Selected Works

Ten themes—Scrape, Drip, Gesture, Concentricity, Line, Monochrome, Stripe to Zip, Figure or Ground, Picture the Frame, and Art on Art—illuminate some 126 works in The Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection. The resulting juxtapositions, often surprising and provocative, provide a new way to tell the story of postwar American art and of a great collection. Through their remarkable acuity, in-depth study, and close relationships with the artists, the Meyerhoffs amassed one of the most distinguished collections of modern art with an emphasis on six American masters: Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Brice Marden, Robert Rauschenberg, and Frank Stella, in addition to important works by leading abstract expressionists and younger artists.

All the works in the exhibition are promised to the National Gallery of Art or have already been donated. Since 1986, 47 works from the Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection have been given to the National Gallery, and the generous gifts continue to shape the Gallery's modern and contemporary collection. The exhibition is on view in the East Building, October 1, 2009–May 2, 2010.

Check out Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection podcasts and a slide show online at www.nga.gov/exhibitions/meyerhoffinfo.shtm.

The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Garden Café Français

Inspired by the masterpieces of French impressionist painting in From Impressionism to Modernism: The Chester Dale Collection, award-winning Washington-based chef Michel Richard of Citronelle and Central has created a menu of signature French dishes for Garden Café Français at the National Gallery of Art. This special lunch menu is offered in the West Building Garden Café Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 4:00 p.m.

In addition to the regular preconcert menu of light fare and beverages served on performance Sundays from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., the Garden Café Français offers a "Taste of Amour" preconcert special on Sundays in February: a single red rose and a Michel Richard signature mousse au chocolat for two, served with fresh strawberries and Bouvet Brut sparkling wine (two glasses, $30; full 750-ml bottle, $49).

Reservations are recommended; please call (202) 712-7454 or e-mail [email protected]. More information about the Café and all dining options at the Gallery is available at www.nga.gov/dining.

Sculpture Garden Ice Rink

All week long, couples can visit the festively lit, romantic atmosphere of the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink. Novice skaters may schedule a group lesson with a United States Figure Skating Association–certified instructor, then warm up afterward in the Pavilion Café with wine and light fare or hot cocoa and a decadent dessert. Full details on hours, admissions, and lessons are available at www.nga.gov/skating.

Schedule of Romantically Themed Public Programs

All programs are free and open to the public, with seating available on a first-come, first-served basis. View the wide array of lectures, films, concerts, and family programs ongoing at the Gallery at www.nga.gov/programs.

Gallery talk: Images of Love
January 29; February 1, 4, and 5 at 1:00 p.m. and February 8, 17, 19, and 22 at 12:00 noon
West Building Main Floor, Rotunda
Lecturer Eric Denker leads a 50-minute tour through the galleries revealing romantic stories depicted in the masterpieces.

Concert: Till Fellner, pianist
Sunday, February 7, 6:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court
Music by Beethoven

Film Program:
Love Letters and Live Wires: England's GPO Film Unit in the 1930s
Sunday, February 14, 4:30 p.m.
East Building Auditorium
"If you want to see what camera and sound can really do," wrote J. B. Priestley, "you have to see some little film sponsored by the Post Office." Public service shorts by England's legendary GPO Film Unit, all from the British Film Institute's archival collection, include N or NW (Len Lye, 1937), Love on the Wing (Norman McLaren, 1938), The Fairy of the Phone (Basil Wright and William Coldstream, 1936), The Tocher (Lotte Reiniger, 1938), Night Mail (Basil Wright and Harry Watt, 1936), and others. (Total running time: 80 minutes)

Concert: Ritz Chamber Players
Sunday, February 14, 6:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court
Music by Perkinson and other African American composers in honor of African American History Month

Concert: Miceal O'Rourke, pianist
Sunday, February 21, 6:30 p.m.
East Building Auditorium
Music by Debussy

Concert: )musica(aperta
Sunday, February 28, 6:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court
Music by Gabrielli and other composers in honor of The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture, 1600–1700

General Information

The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden are at all times free to the public. They are located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW, and are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Gallery is closed on December 25 and January 1. For information call (202) 737-4215 or visit the Gallery's Web site at www.nga.gov. Follow the Gallery on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NationalGalleryofArt, Twitter at www.twitter.com/ngadc, and Instagram at http://instagram.com/ngadc.

Visitors will be asked to present all carried items for inspection upon entering. Checkrooms are free of charge and located at each entrance. Luggage and other oversized bags must be presented at the 4th Street entrances to the East or West Building to permit x-ray screening and must be deposited in the checkrooms at those entrances. For the safety of visitors and the works of art, nothing may be carried into the Gallery on a visitor's back. Any bag or other items that cannot be carried reasonably and safely in some other manner must be left in the checkrooms. Items larger than 17 by 26 inches cannot be accepted by the Gallery or its checkrooms.
 
For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000B South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]
 
Anabeth Guthrie
Chief of Communications
(202) 842-6804
[email protected]

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