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Press Release

Press Contact:
Miriam Grotte
(202) 842-6864
[email protected]

Chief Press Officer
Deborah Ziska
[email protected]
(202) 842-6353

Release Date: January 30, 2012

National Gallery of Art Offers Romantic Outings During the Month of Valentines and Beyond with Concerts, Films, Lectures, and More

The National Gallery of Art has long been a favorite setting for creative dates ranging from a stroll through the galleries, free films and concerts, elegant dining in the picturesque Garden Café, to ice skating at the Sculpture Garden Ice Rink. This February, in celebration of Valentine’s Day and coinciding with Destination DC’s popular Date Nights DC program (, the Gallery is a beacon for couples looking for the perfect outing.

Opening January 28 in the West Building, the newly renovated galleries devoted to impressionism and post-impressionism invite couples to enjoy spectacular 19th-century French art and revisit favorite masterpieces from the Gallery’s collection arranged in new groupings.

Sundays at the Gallery offer an ideal rendezvous for art lovers. Visitors can join a Gallery-led talk exploring the Gallery's rich permanent collection and then indulge in light fare and fine wines at the Garden Café, which offers a special pre-concert menu with decadent desserts and champagne from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.  A live concert in the lush atmosphere of the West Garden Court rounds out the day.

View the wide array of ongoing lectures, films, concerts, and family programs at the Gallery at All programs are presented free of charge and take place in the East Building Auditorium unless otherwise noted. Seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis.

19th-Century French Galleries

The Gallery’s collection of later 19th-century French paintings—with its world-renowned works by Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh, and Gauguin—returns to public view in a freshly conceived installation design. While the appearance of these revered galleries on the Main Floor of the West Building has changed very little—preserving the conditions of light, proportions, and wall colors that make the Gallery one of the great places to view art—the paintings themselves are cast in dynamic new arrangements that highlight topical, monographic, and art historical themes.

Gallery Talks

Love in Art
February 4, 5, 7, 14, 16, 22, 24, and 29, 1:00 p.m.
West Building Main Floor, Rotunda
Lecturer David Gariff leads a 60-minute tour through the galleries revealing romantic stories depicted in the masterpieces.

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

Side by Side: Cimabue and Giotto at Pisa
Sunday, February 5, 2:00 p.m.
Julian Gardner, Samuel H. Kress Professor, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art

The Collecting of African American Art VII: David C. Driskell in conversation with Ruth Fine
Sunday, February 12, 2:00 p.m.
David C. Driskell, artist, collector, and emeritus professor of art history, University of Maryland at College Park, in conversation with Ruth Fine, consulting curator of special projects in modern art, National Gallery of Art

Solving the East / West Conundrum in Modern Chinese Art
Sunday, February 19, 1:00 p.m. (in Mandarin), 2:00 p.m. (in English)
Martin J. Powers, Sally Michelson Davidson Professor of Chinese Arts and Cultures and director, Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan

The Collecting of African American Art VIII: Elliot Perry and Darrell Walker in conversation with Michael D. Harris
Sunday, February 26, 2:00 p.m.
Collectors of African American art and art of the African diaspora and former National Basketball Association players Elliot Perry and Darrell Walker, in conversation with Michael D. Harris, associate professor of art history and African American studies, Emory University

Sunday Evening Concerts

Sunday, February 5, 6:30 p.m. PM
Music by Renaissance composers for lute and voice
Presented in honor of Antico: The Golden Age of Renaissance Bronzes
West Building, West Garden Court

Cavatina Duo
Sunday, February 12, 6:30 p.m.
Music written between 1890 and 1921 for flute and guitar
West Building, West Garden Court

Phillips Camerata
Sunday, February 19, 6:30 p.m.
Chamber music written between 1890 and 1921
Presented in honor of Picasso's Drawings, 1890–1921: Reinventing Tradition
West Building, West Garden Court

Roger Wright, pianist
Sunday, February 26, 6:30 p.m.
Debussy: Masques
West Building, West Garden Court

Film Programs

Ciné-Concert: Nathan the Wise
Dennis James, theater organ
Saturday, February 4, 2:30 p.m.
Theater organist Dennis James performs his historically themed organ score for Nathan der Weise, a 1920s adaptation of the famously controversial Enlightenment-era play about religious tolerance from dramatist philosopher Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. Sultan Saladin (Fritz Greiner) takes Jerusalem in spite of counter efforts from his brother Assad, a Christian convert who fought with the Knights Templar. Meanwhile Jewish merchant Nathan (Werner Krauss) loses his sons when the synagogue burns, but ends up adopting young Recha, the daughter of Assad (Manfred Noa, 1922, DigiBeta from 35 mm, 128 minutes).

A Place in Berlin
Sunday, February 5, 4:30 p.m.
The plaza known as Marx-Engels Forum in the historic Mitte district of what was once East Berlin was constructed thirty years ago to honor communist icons Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Famed painter and filmmaker Jurgen Bottcher revisited footage he shot during the forum's creation, then returned ten years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, composing a filmic collage with his old and new material. This experimental documentary features Gunter "Baby" Sommer and Dietmar Diesner, improvisational jazz artists from the former DDR, in a striking nonfiction essay (Jürgen Böttcher, 2001, 35 mm, German with subtitles, 88 minutes).

Eames: The Architect and the Painter
Introduction by C. Ford Peatross
Sunday, February 12, 4:30 p.m.
Charles and Ray Eames were among this country's most influential designers, literally shaping the course of American architecture, furniture, industrial design, and film. Eames: The Architect and the Painter draws from a mass of rare and unusual archival material, as well as surprising interview footage with friends and colleagues, to depict the couple's lives while placing them in the milieu of midcentury America (Jason Cohn, 2011, HD-Cam, 83 minutes).

Les Lutins du Court -Métrage: Festival of New French Shorts
Sunday, February 19, 5:00 p.m.
This selection of new short films from France is filled with humor, compassion, suspense, and beauty. Four works, presented in original format, are shown as part of the Lutins du Court-Métrage festival organized in association with L'Alliance Française de Washington. Titles include The Last Journey of Maryse Lucas, The Little Tailor, Birds Get Vertigo, Too, and Tre Ore (approximately 105 minutes).

American Originals Now: Amie Siegel Film Series
The ongoing film series American Originals Now offers an opportunity for discussion with young independent American filmmakers and a chance to share in their art through special screenings and presentations. The focus of this season's installment is artist Amie Siegel (born 1974), whose intelligent and idiosyncratic ruminations on history and modernism, on filmic narrative and cultural memory, have garnered international acclaim. Her work, in a range of moving image modes, is demanding yet accessible and filled with keenly inspired associations. Empathy and DDR / DDR established Siegel as an important film essayist able to unearth material from surprising sources through observation, direct address, and interview. A recipient of many international awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, Siegel teaches in the department of visual and environmental studies at Harvard University.

Saturday, February 11, 2:30 p.m.
Before-and-after traits of a once divided and then reunified Germany are seen through the filmmaker's steady and assured perspective as an outsider assuming various roles as ethnographer, actor, and collector. Vérité interviews mix with feigned dialogue to excavate East German traumas associated with both the socialist state and reunification. "A mosaic of interviews and incidents gradually connecting, allowing issues of history, state control, personal identity, and memory to emerge"—Jason Edward Kaufman (2008, HD-Cam, 135 minutes).

Hole Punches
Amie Siegel in person
Saturday, February 18, 2:30 p.m.
This presentation of recent short films includes Black Moon / Hole Punches (2010), Siegel's reworking of a 1974 feature film by Louis Malle into a short film, a grouping of still photographs, and a video installation. She shows documentation of other media arts installations such as Berlin Remake (2007), "a double projection of exterior scenes from East German State Film Studio movies alongside their 'remade' version in the present" (AS). The artist will speak about her processes and transformation of ideas across various exhibition formats and contexts (total running time approximately 90 minutes).

PhotoFilm! Film Series
"Photofilms" are moving pictures composed of still photographs. PhotoFilm! broadly explores the uses of still photography within the cinematic context, attempting to expand a dialogue between the two art forms that has existed since the beginnings of the motion picture. The works run the gamut from classics such as Chris Marker's La Jetée to new experimental films such as Shelly Silver's What I'm Looking For. The series is presented jointly with Goethe-Institut Washington (several additional programs take place there), supported by German Films, Ag Kurzfilm, Swedish Filminstitut, and organized by the Concrete Narrative Society e.V. Berlin. Curators Gusztav Hamos, Katja Pratschke, and Thomas Tode are present for discussion.

How Much Movement Does the Image Need?
Gusztáv Hámos, Katja Pratschke,Thomas Tode in person
Saturday, February 25, 2:30 p.m.
The appearance of a still photograph in a cinematographic context often evokes an element of surprise for the viewer. This program presents films that question the nature of the image as well as its relationship to other forms with works by Chris Marker (La Jetée, 1962), Sergei Eisenstein (Beshin Meadow, 1935/1967), Leonore Mau and Hubert Fichte (The Fishmarket and the Fish, 1968), and Katja Pratschke and Gusztav Hamos (Transposed Bodies, 2002). (95 minutes)

Recall and Memory
Gusztav Hamos, Katja Pratschke, Thomas Tode in person
Sunday, February 26, 4:30 p.m.
"That-has-been," wrote Roland Barthes; photography stands for something that has happened. Film, in contrast, always unfolds in the here and now and can be seen as a container for memory. Featuring films by Thierry Knauff (Le Sphinx, 1985), Agnès Varda (Ulysse, 1982), Jerzy Ziarnik (Gestapoman Schmidt, 1964), Franz Winzentsen (The Fitting 1938, 1985), Helke Misselwitz (Pictures from a Family Album,1985), and Janet Riedel, Katja Pratschke, and Gusztáv Hámos (Fiasko,2010), this program investigates these functions in the context ofpersonal and historical memory (93 minutes).

Garden Café Italia

Inspired by the exhibition Antico: The Golden Age of Renaissance Bronzes (November 6, 2011–April 8, 2012), as well as the Gallery's own stellar collection of Italian masterpieces, award-winning chef Fabio Trabocchi of Fiola has created a menu of signature Italian dishes for Garden Café Italia 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. A preconcert menu of light fare and beverages is served on performance Sundays from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, the Café offers tempting dessert specials for two. Throughout February, enjoy two tiramisu and two glasses of Rose Regal Brachetto for $20. Additionally, during February 10–17, the Café will offer a rich chocolate cake garnished with strawberries for $8.

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

Sculpture Garden Ice Rink

All week long, weather permitting, 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. Full details on hours, admissions, and lessons are available at

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.