La Parisienne/La Washingtonienne

Posted on January 28, 2010
Filed Under Events, Only in Washington | 4,255 Comments

5 Pierre-Auguste Renoir - La Parisienne, 1874_PR

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, La Parisienne, 1874. Oil on canvas. National Museum of Wales;Miss Gwendoline E. Davies Bequest, 1951 (nmwa 2495). Courtesy American Federation of Arts.


In living color in Director Paul Greenhalgh’s office.

This week has been busy and semi sleepless but so, so inspiring. Though I work every day at an art gallery, I spend most of my time at my computer. I’ve been writing about/thinking about this show for months, but seeing the work and walking through the exhibition with the curator this week, I am just so re-energized and re-inspired. On Saturday Turner to Cezanne opens, and will be on view through April 25.

A central works in the show is Renoir’s commanding portrait, La Parisienne. Renoir painted her at a time when Europe was changing rapidly due to industrialization, and with it a new, undefined, increasingly modern world. The title itself is of note, because while he was painting a portrait of an actual person – she was a very young, relatively unknown actress – he was painting her as a representation of the modern urban woman. She’s at the height of fashion in her blue dress, the dye having become more available due to innovation, and she’s both shy and bold at the same time. I’m thrilled that she’s here in Washington, at a time when the city feels so alive with change and cultural, creative energy.

She’s hung slightly low in gallery on purpose, so that you can look right at her as she meets your gaze. I adore her so much that she inspired my outfit yesterday – a silk taffeta dress with a built-in crinoline that I wore with some vintage underthings, including hold-up stockings. Which are seriously fun to wear (more on that later). So yes, another reason I love my job: I can wear a party dress to work if I feel like it!

UPDATE: Check out an awesome front-page Style review of the show in Saturday’s Post….shameless plugs going on here, sorry!

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Art & Affordability

Posted on January 20, 2010
Filed Under Around Town, Events | 1,627 Comments

Many Hearts

Kevin Williams, Many Hearts

As I mentioned before, I’m having near-constant home decor fantasies, despite the fact that I have NO cash to allocate to it and no business buying “major” furniture for a rental property I share with others. That being said, artwork is one of the few things that makes sense to invest in now, since it takes up so little space and can lead multiple and fantastically different lives in different spaces.

So I’m loving the art sale and beauty event being held tomorrow from 5:30-7:30 at WVSA’s ARTiculate Gallery. They hold an open house “Third Thursday” every month, where art from those participating in their art outreach programs is shown and sold. Tomorrow’s (free) event will unveil artwork focused on art + beauty, and guests will have the opportunity to not tour their event spaces (art galleries seem to be the coolest event spaces these days), but purchase affordable art and get free makeovers and samples from event partner LIERAC Paris. Prices generally fall between $100-$300, and a percentage goes directly to the artist. Or for the same cost, you can commission a custom piece.

The works for this show will be unveiled tomorrow, but these are some of my favorites – love the lively (local!) street scenes and energy of the hearts. These found-art style paintings would add a lot of personality to a room, especially mixed in with other inexpensive finds or juxtaposed with modern decor.

FL Ave

Derek Holloman, Florida Avenue


Michael Tutson, Green Couch with Large Dog


Jamal Williams, Untitled

Also, love the local art-of-the-month concept called Project Dispatch (hat tip to DCist). Every month, a new surprise!


Brad Ulreich, Friction Powered

the storm

Corcoran alum! Chandi Kelley, The Storm (think of how great this could look arranged with actual books…)

Speaking of art (and the Corcoran), preparing for opening our next show has kept me really busy…generally I’ve got less time to blog now than I ever did. That’s why I’m trying to keep things fun and low-stress around here. So I’m sorry if things get quiet on occasion, because I know that they will. And at some point I hope to overhaul the categories and figure out how to integrate a propah blogroll for all my wonderful blogosphere friends. Thank all of you for reading whatever random bits of inspiration land here, and for your ideas and comments!

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Norman Ambrose on the Cover of More

Posted on January 20, 2010
Filed Under Everything Else | 11,540 Comments


Got a very excited email from Norman Ambrose this morning – his first cover! Mariska Hargitay, and her back, looking quite lovely on the cover of More. Congratulations, Norman!

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Haiti Needs Us Now.

Posted on January 15, 2010
Filed Under Only in Washington | 22,238 Comments

The breeziness of my last post aside, I hope that every one of you reading this has taken some time to reflect on what has happened in Haiti. It is devastating. We all woke up this morning to news and images of mass graves, amputations done with no medicine. We’re in a critical window of time where people are trapped under debris and buildings, still alive but barely hanging on. I hope you’ve all donated; I have.

Washington is a wonderfully connected and caring city. Everyone seems to be mobilizing. A few selections below that I’ll try to update; first, a prayer service at the city’s most beautiful place of worship. Just in, from the communications representative at the National Cathedral

Dear colleagues:

Washington National Cathedral offers a major prayer service for the people of Haiti this Sunday, January 17, at 6 pm. CNN plans to feature live coverage.

At the time of my writing, service participants include:
• The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, offering a sermon;
• Bishop of Washington John Bryson Chane, offering the invocation;
• Auxiliary Bishop of Washington Barry C. Knestout, representing the Most Rev. Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington;
• Cathedral Dean Samuel T. Lloyd III, offering the welcome; and
• His Excellency Raymond Joseph, Haitian ambassador to the U.S.
The service will feature prayers from interfaith representatives and a Haitian folksong sung by countertenor Jean-Luc Princivil. More details will be forthcoming. Updates will also be posted on the Cathedral’s Web site,

We are grateful for your assistance in spreading the word. All are welcome, and the service will also be Webcast live from the Cathedral’s homepage.

Union Makes Strength

Additionally, L’Rai Arthur-Mensah, of The Essence of Style will host along with others a benefit after-work “happy hour” (that feels weird to write here) Tuesday, Jan. 19 at Recess Lounge (727 15th Street NW) from 5:30-9, located in the White House Corridor on 15th St. She writes:

ALL (100%) proceeds will go towards helping two non profits organizations. Recess has been gracious enough to make a monetary donation from the sale of each drink purchased during the evening. We will solicit funds and supplies in a free will donation (suggested amount $20). The money will be donated to both a large relief organization and a smaller grassroots organization to channel fund to the aid on both the macro and micro levels. Yele Haiti ( is a non-profit 501(3) founded by Wyclef Jean that provides relief efforts in Haiti. Partners In Health (, an organization working to bring modern medical care to poor communities in nine countries around the world and has a significant presence in Haiti at this time. Also, we will have guest speakers including representatives from diplomatic government entities, humanitarian agencies, scholars and family members of people in Haiti now.

And I’m getting word that Latin Concepts, the restaurant group responsible for an eclectic mix of restaurants and lounges in Washington, will be integrating fundraising into its sales mix all next week, at all of their restaurants:

Monday, January 18 through Friday January 22, 7-8 p.m. daily, 10% of ALL food and beverage purchases at Maté, Guarapo, Gazuza, Chi Cha, Ceviche, Kitchen and Gin & Tonic will be contributed to support Doctors Without Borders and their hard work to aid the Haitian community.

I hope everyone will do what they can.

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