The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is located in Washington D.C. and is a part of the glorious Smithsonian Institution. The museum houses the collection of one man – Joseph H. Hirshhorn, a financier, philanthropist and well-known collector of modern art. Of course, as with all museums, the Hirshhorn collection is ever-changing and evolving as art treasures are donated to and purchased by the museum.
The museum houses over 11,500 works of art, including some 5,000 paintings, 3,000 sculptures and mixed-media pieces, and 4,000 works on paper. At any given time, over 600 works are on view in the museum’s galleries, plaza and garden. In addition, the Hirshhorn is home to many special exhibits throughout the year.
The Hirshhorn building itself is quite unique. It is a circular structure with four levels. In the center of the building is an open plaza used for the display of sculpture. The permanent collection can be found on the second and third floors with larger 3-dimensional works displayed in the outer galleries (next to floor to ceiling windows) and paintings and works on paper displayed in the inner galleries. The main floor is reserved for special exhibitions and is also home to a large auditorium.
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden houses one of the world’s largest collections of modern sculpture. Many of the pieces like those by Henri Matisse, Jean Arp, Pablo Picasso and Henry Moore can be seen in the outdoor sculpture garden, located just across the street from the main building. Paintings in the museum include those by Francis Bacon, Rene Magritte, Larry Rivers and Willem de Kooning.
Truly a wonderful place to visit if you are a fan of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn is one of those museums that literally wraps its arms around you. It is interesting to note that while Joseph Hirshhorn was deciding where his collection of art should ultimately be housed, he approached a number a different cities including Ottawa, Canada – and was turned down. All the better for Washington.
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