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Color and Light at the Corcoran

I fell in love last weekend … with an exhibition. The Washington Color and Light exhibit currently on display at the Corcoran Gallery of Art is – in the true sense of the word – awesome. The show features major works from Washington Color School artists such as Gene Davis and Thomas Downing

as well as from their contemporaries. Not only is it an impressive collection, but there is a sense of magic to its arrangement. Thoughtful consideration was given to grouping of works and gallery-to-gallery views creating an environment that is scintillating and inspiring. Even the adjacent spaces and the works therein complement Color and Light beautifully – making a tour of the second floor in toto dynamic, fluid and certainly memorable. I’ll be back for a second survey when the Corcoran reopens the show in June. But not to worry, you can still catch this must-see exhibit now as it runs through March 6.


The entrance to The Corcoran Gallery of Art on 17th Street across from the south lawn of the White House.


As you walk up the main stair, you are greeted by a Daniel Chester French sculpture. The sculptor’s most famous work is of a seated Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial.


In the Corcoran’s rotunda is a piece from contemporary artist Spencer Finch’s exhibit, My Business with the Cloud. As the inaugural show for the Corcoran’s NOW series, Finch’swork reflects on and responds to Washington and its history via a modern, abstract method.

sweet suite substitute

Sweet Suite Substitute, 1968 (fabricated 1982)

Bruce Nauman




The first gallery and intro to the show includes three giants of modern art: Willem de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn and Cy Twombly (top to bottom).




A perfect grouping and sublime sight lines in the second gallery. I love the work of Robert Mangold, Gene Davis and Ellsworth Kelly.


Mao, 1973

Andy Warhol


Deceit Filter, 1994

Jim Sanborn


Flyer, 1986 by Sean Scully - I placed two lithographs by this artist in a client's apartment in Georgetown.


Morris Louis’ 2-69 illustrates his “soak and stain” method of painting in which he would pour quick-dry acrylic down an unprimed canvas.


I shot around 40 photos while viewing the exhibit.


Homage to the Square: “Yes”, 1956

Josef Albers



Pink Alert, 1966 by Jules Olitski as seen up close and from across the colonnade.




A room dedicated to the work of Gene Davis including what may arguably be Davis’ and the show’s magnum opus – Junkie’s Curtain, 1967.

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Interestingly, my two favorite pieces in the exhibition were paintings by Davis, but not prototypical of his best known work. The two paintings above caught my attention with their movement and dramatic color. Complex yet subtle, kinetic yet elegant.

TH cropped

Information regarding upcoming exhibits, workshops and lectures is available at

Tricia xo