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Washington, D.C.'s Top 10 : Art Galleries

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  1. National Gallery of Art

    Displaying one of the most distinguished art collections in the world, this gallery gives visitors a broad but in-depth look at the development of Western art over the centuries .

  2. Phillips Collection

    Opened in 1921, the Phillips is America’s first museum of Modern art. It is celebrated for its collection of Impressionist works, including Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party, Van Gogh’s Entrance to the Public Gardens in Arles, and Degas’ Dancers at the Barre, among many others.

    • 1600 21st St, NW

    • Open 10am–5pm Tue–Sat; 11am–6pm Sun

    • Adm

    • Dis. access

  3. Corcoran Gallery of Art

    Corcoran exhibitions tilt toward contemporary media, especially photography. The city’s first art museum, and one of the three oldest in the United States, is also housed in one of America’s most significant Beaux Arts buildings, designed by Ernest Flagg and completed in 1897 .

    Corcoran Gallery of Art
  4. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

    The Hirshhorn exhibits the most varied modern and contemporary art in Washington, D.C.: its Directions gallery is known for displaying the newest – and sometimes the most controversial – work in the city. The lower level features a selection of items from the permanent collection, while large temporary shows are housed on the second floor, along with modern European sculpture. The third floor displays innovative paintings and sculptures up to the present day.

    Hirshhorn Museum
  5. Renwick Gallery

    Many Washingtonians name this gallery as their favorite, not least because it is located in a gorgeous French Renaissance-style building, as well as staging well-organized shows of American crafts. It’s also refreshingly quiet in comparison to many other museums and galleries. The second-floor Grand Salon, which has recently been renovated in the style of a 19th-century picture gallery, displays paintings and sculpture and is decorated with period furniture. Permanent and touring exhibitions of fine craftwork fill other parts of the building .

    Renwick Gallery
  6. Freer Gallery of Art

    The amazing Peacock Room is among the finest and most subtle examples of interior design found anywhere in the city. Created for a London home by James McNeill Whistler, and recreated here, the elegantly painted walls and ceiling served as a complement to a collection of blue-and-white porcelain. A discerning collection of works from Asia fills the spacious display areas.

    • Jefferson Drive at 12th St SW

    • Open 10am– 5:30pm daily; closed Dec 25

    • Free

    • Dis. access

    Freer Gallery of Art
  7. National Museum of African Art

    This harmonious building brings architectural features common in Africa to one of the Smithsonian’s most innovative museums, built principally underground. The wonderful permanent collection provides the best introduction to the role of art in African culture that one could hope to find .

    Uma statue, National Museum of African Art
  8. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

    Another of the underground museums of the Smithsonian, the Sackler is a leading center for the study and display of ancient and contemporary Asian art. Its events bring Asian art and philosophies to life, and its occasional presentations of Tibetan monks carrying out the ritual of sand painting a mandala are always huge hits.

    • 1050 Independence Ave SW

    • Open 10am–5:30pm daily; closed Dec 25

    • Free

    • Dis. access

  9. National Museum of Women in the Arts

    This is the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to displaying the work of women artists, from the Renaissance to the present day. Fascinating and provocative exhibitions explore the work and social role of female artists over the centuries, as well as that of women in general .

  10. Kreeger Museum

    This relatively unknown museum houses Impressionist works to complement those at the Phillips, painters and sculptors from 1850 to the 1970s, and a collection of traditional works from Africa.

    • 2401 Foxhall Rd, NW

    • 202 338 3552

    • Open 10am–4pm Sat; Tours 10:30am and 1:30pm Tue–Fri by appt only

    • Donation

    • Dis. access (main level and terrace)

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