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Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art has long been a favorite place to impress a date, offering strolls through the galleries, free films and concerts, cozy dining in the picturesque Garden Café, even ice skating at the Gallery's Sculpture Garden Ice Rink. This February, in celebration of Valentine's Day and coinciding with Destination DC's second annual Date Nights DC: A 28-Day Stimulus Plan for Love and Relationships program (, the Gallery has an inviting array of perfectly artful ways for couples to spend time with each other.

Sundays at the Gallery offer the ideal art lovers' rendezvous. Visitors can join a Gallery-led talk to explore the Gallery's rich permanent collection together or find inspiration in the collection of a prominent couple who shared a passion for collecting great art: Chester and Maud Dale. The Garden Café offers patrons light fare and fine wines, as well as a special preconcert menu, which is served from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Then enjoy a live concert in the verdant setting of the West Garden Court.

Two exhibitions with enticing themes whose exclusive North American venue is the National Gallery of Art open in February. Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals, opening February 20, showcases picturesque view paintings of one of the most enduringly romantic cities in the world: Venice. Opening a week later on February 27, Gauguin: Maker of Myth is organized around the most significant themes that pervade his created myths: artist as creator, the quest for spirituality, the search for an earthly paradise (and discovery of a paradise lost), re-creation of the past, archetypal females, and religious commonalities.

View the wide array of lectures, films, concerts, and family programs ongoing at the Gallery at Admission to the Gallery is always free, and all programs are free and open to the public, with seating available on a first-come, first-served basis.


From Impressionism to Modernism: The Chester Dale Collection
Through January 2, 2012, West Building

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 through January 2, 2012, on the Ground Floor of the West Building, the exhibition and the accompanying catalogue 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, and due to a stipulation in the bequest, they may be seen only at the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

Chester Dale Collection information, podcasts, a slide show, and an exhibition brochure are online at

The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art.

The exhibition is made possible by United Technologies Corporation.

Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals
February 20–May 30, 2011, East Building

The National Gallery of Art will present some 20 of Canaletto's finest paintings of Venice with more than 30 by his most important contemporaries, including Gaspar Vanvitelli, Luca Carlevarijs, Michele Marieschi, Bernardo Bellotto, and Francesco Guardi, in Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals, on view from February 20 through May 30, 2011, in the East Building. These dazzling cityscapes represent the finest view painters of Venice—each responding to the city in his own way, and each competing in a market driven largely by the British Grand Tour, which was at its height during the 18th century.

The entrance to the exhibition will feature a 37-foot-long gondola that once belonged to the American painter Thomas Moran and is now in the collection of The Mariners' Museum, Newport News, Virginia. One of the world's oldest gondolas, it will visually "transport" visitors to the lagoon city celebrated in the views of Canaletto and his rivals.

The convergence of art and science will be represented in a monumental first edition of Iconografica Rappresentatione della Inclita Città di Venezia (1729), one of the greatest printed maps of cities, and two 18th-century examples of the camera obscura, an optical device possibly used by the view painters.

Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals has been organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the sole U.S. venue for the show, and the National Gallery, London, where it was on view through January 16, 2011.

The exhibition in Washington is made possible by the Bracco Foundation, which promotes cultural, scientific, and artistic expressions to improve the quality of life.

It is also made possible through the generous support of the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation.

Additional support is kindly provided by Sally Engelhard Pingree and The Charles Engelhard Foundation.

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

Gauguin: Maker of Myth
February 27–June 5, 2011, East Building

Sumptuous, colorful images of Brittany and the islands of the South Seas, some of the most beloved in modern art, are among 100 works by Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) featured in the first major U.S. exhibition spanning his career  in nearly 20 years. On view from February 27 through June 5, 2011, at the National Gallery of Art—the sole  venue in the United Statesthe exhibition Gauguin: Maker of Myth, along with its accompanying catalogue, examines the role that myth-making played in Gauguin's art, shedding new light on his life and career.

The exhibition reflects the remarkable breadth of Gauguin's work with examples from every period (c. 1880–1903), medium (painting, watercolor, pastel, drawing, and prints, ceramic and wooden sculpture, and decorated functional objects), and genre (portraiture, still life, and landscape).

Gauguin: Maker of Myth was organized by Tate Modern, London, in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Bank of America is proud to be the global sponsor.

The Marshall B. Coyne Foundation is a generous supporter through the Fund for the International Exchange of Art.

Additional support is provided by The Exhibition Circle of the National Gallery of Art.

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

Gallery Talks

Regular public tours of exhibitions and the collection are offered by the adult programs department of the education division. For times and topics, please consult the bimonthly calendar of events or the Gallery Talk section of the National Gallery of Art website at

Sunday Lectures

All lectures take place in the East Building Auditorium.

"We Build Our Temples for Tomorrow": Writing African American Art History
February 6, 2:00 p.m.
Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, associate professor of American Art, University of Pennsylvania

Charles Burnett
Sunday, February 13, 2:00 p.m.
Charles Burnett, filmmaker

Introduction to the Exhibition—"Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals"Sunday, February 20, 2:00 p.m.
Charles Beddington, guest curator, and David Alan Brown, curator of Italian and Spanish paintings, National Gallery of Art

Introduction to the Exhibition—"Gauguin: Maker of Myth"
Sunday, February 27, 2:00 p.m.
Mary Morton, curator and head of the department of French paintings, National Gallery of Art, and Belinda Thomson, guest curator


National Gallery of Art Vocal Ensemble
Wednesday, February 2, 12:10 p.m.
Gregorian chant and music by Italian composers
West Building, West Garden Court

Ariel String Quartet
Sunday, February 6, 6:30 p.m.
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
West Building, West Garden Court

Janice Martin, violinist
John Wohlstetter, guest lecturer

Wednesday, February 9, 12:10 p.m.
Music by George Gershwin
West Building Lecture Hall
Sponsored by the Billy Rose Foundation

Marcus Thompson, violist
Judith Gordon, pianist

Sunday, February 13, 6:30 p.m.
Music by J. S. Bach, Enescu, Lee, and Schumann
West Building, West Garden Court
Presented in honor of African American History Month

William Chapman Nyaho, pianist
Wednesday, February 16, 12:10 p.m.
East Building Auditorium
Music of the African Diaspora

The Vivaldi Project
Sunday, February 20, 6:30 p.m.
Music by Vivaldi and other composers
Presented in honor of Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals
West Building, West Garden Court

Sara Stern, flutist
Lisa Emenheiser, pianist

Wednesday, February 23, 12:10 p.m.
East Building Auditorium
Music by Lieberman, Jongen, and Schoenfield

Red Priest
Sunday, February 27, 6:30 p.m.
Music by Vivaldi and other composers
Presented in honor of Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals
West Building, West Garden Court

Film Programs

All film screenings take place in the East Building Auditorium.

Les Lutins du Court-Métrage: Festival of New French Shorts
Sunday, February 13, at 5:00 p.m.
A selection of new French short films is filled with surprise, suspense, humor, and beauty. Four works, presented in original format, are shown as part of the Lutins du Court-Métrage festival organized together with L'Alliance Française de Washington. Titles include The North Road (La Route du Nord), Another's Reason (La Raison de l'Autre), The Best Place (L'Endroit Ideal), and The Herd (La Harde). (Approximately 105 minutes)

Lou Harrison: A World of Music
Saturday, February 26, at 4:00 p.m.
Washington premiere
Director Eva Soltes in person
Music pioneer, writer, and activist Lou Harrison (1917–2003)—an early experimenter with alternate tunings and intricate mergings of Western and Eastern styles—has been a legend of the American music scene since the 1950s. The culmination of two decades of research and documentation, Lou Harrison: A World of Music features rare footage, personal recordings, and informal conversations with Harrison, as well as extended passages of his hauntingly beautiful scores. The director leads a post-screening dialogue. (Eva Soltes, 2010, HD-Cam, 90 minutes)

Neorealismo 1941–1954: Days of Glory Film Series
Born out of turmoil in postwar Italy, neorealism addressed a moral and aesthetic need in the Italian cinema, in Roberto Rossellini's words, "to express things as they are." Forsaking artificial sets and the mannered effects of studio production for natural locations and nonprofessional actors, the neorealist collaborators shared a conviction that the subject of art must be ordinary life (a perspective that was gaining ground elsewhere as well). This series spans the decisive decade when the political and social order in Italy was still fermenting; it features a variety of formal approaches by eight directors along with critical writers such as Cesare Zavattini and Carlo Lizzani. Presented in association with Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia-Cineteca Nazionale, Cinecittà Luce S.p.A., and the Embassy of Italy, with thanks to the Pacific Film Archive, Susan Oxtoby, Laura Argento, Rosaria Focarelli, and the Italian Cultural Institute of Washington.

Friday, February 18, at 2:30 p.m.
(Luchino Visconti, 1953, 35 mm, Italian with subtitles, 114 minutes)

Without Pity
Saturday, February 19, at 2:00 p.m.
(Alberto Lattuada, 1948, 35 mm, Italian with subtitles, 95 minutes)

The Overcoat
Saturday, February 19, at 4:00 p.m.
(Alberto Lattuada, 1952, 35 mm, Italian with subtitles, 99 minutes)

Sunday in August
Sunday, February 20, at 4:30 p.m.
(Luciano Emmer, 1950, 35 mm, Italian with subtitles, 88 minutes)

Chronicle of Poor Lovers
Saturday, February 26, at 1:00 p.m.
(Carlo Lizzani, 1954, 35 mm, Italian with subtitles, 108 minutes)

Jem Cohen: Curious Visions Film Series
Since the early 1980s, American filmmaker Jem Cohen (b. 1962) has been creating a unique oeuvre of shorts and features that extends the principles of portraiture to nonfiction cinema. Working in collaboration with his artist subjects, usually over several years and in a range of formats, Cohen's work both documents and transcends conventions. Shorts and excerpts from works in progress, introduced by the artist himself, are followed by Instrument, his feature on the musical group Fugazi. This program is the initial installment of a new quarterly film event, "American Originals Now."

Recent Shorts and Other Works
Saturday, February 12, at 2:30 p.m.
Director Jem Cohen in person|
Titles include Anne Truitt, Working (2009, 13 minutes), a portrait of an artist and trusted friend; Half the Battle (2008, 12 minutes), "a reflection on the phenomenon of the touring musician"; Night Scene New York (2009, 10 minutes), observations of Chinatown commissioned by the Museum of Chinese in the Americas; and a few rousing excerpts from works in progress, including a feature recorded in Vienna, Austria. (Approximate running time 90 minutes)

Sunday, February 27, at 5:00 p.m.
Members of Fugazi in person
(1999, digiBeta, 115 minutes)

Sculpture Garden Ice Rink

Seven days a week, 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

Dining in the Garden Café

One of the most distinctive dining spots in the nation's capital, the Garden Café features a fountain with Herbert Adams' sculpture Girl with Water Lilies (model 1928) near the West Building entrance at 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. The Garden Café is open for lunch Monday to Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 4:00 p.m. It offers a special preconcert menu on performance Sundays, October to May, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. For more information or to make reservations, please call (202) 712-7454 or visit  

Garden Café Francais and Garden Café Italia are presented in partnership with Restaurant Associates and Executive Chef David Rogers at the National Gallery of Art.

Garden Café Français
(Through February 10)
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.

Garden Café Italia
(Opening February 11)
In honor of the exhibitions Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals (February 20–May 30 2011) and Italian Master Drawings from the Wolfgang Ratjen Collection, 1525–1835 (May 8–November 27, 2011), as well as the Gallery's renowned collection of Italian masterpieces, Chef Fabio Trabocchi will transform the menu in the Garden Café from February 11, 2011, to March 20, 2012. Returning from New York to DC in 2011 to open the highly anticipated restaurant Fiola in Penn Quarter, Chef Trabocchi will create a menu of signature Italian dishes for the Garden Café.

General Information

For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000 South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]
Anabeth Guthrie
Chief of Communications
(202) 842-6804
[email protected]

The Gallery also offers a broad range of newsletters for various interests. Follow this link to view the complete list.