Seeing pictures of American life

Renovations highlight two underappreciated Washington art museums

June 25, 2006|By GLENN MCNATT | GLENN MCNATT,SUN ART CRITIC

For years, the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum seemed destined to live in the shadow of Washington's better known museums.

People may have been vaguely aware that Gilbert Stuart's depiction of George Washington hung at the Portrait Gallery (and most left it at that), while the paintings and sculptures at the American Art Museum rarely attracted the attention enjoyed by their flashier counterparts at the National Gallery of Art, the Phillips Collection or the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

PORTRAIT GALLERY AND THE SMITHSONIAN AMERICAN ART MUSEUM

/ / 8th and F streets, N.W., in Washington / / reopen to the public July 1 / / 202-633-1000

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