Monday, February 7, 2011

Return of the Adventurers

The Bureau of Printing and Engraving was very fun, although I was glad we did not have to wait in line for it. We saw about $300 million being made!! We were all pretty fascinated, I think. The tour was pretty short, however.

With the extra time we visited Whistler's "Peacock Room" in the Freer Gallery. Pardon me if you already know this story.

I asked the kids what they would do if they had $50 million and wanted to spruce up their room a bit. They had some pretty exciting answers! A wealthy industrialist named Leyland had just such a quandry. He had a favorite painting, however, so he ended up hiring the artist who painted the picture to redo the whole room to go with the picture. That would be Whistler. Then he went on vacation in Europe...

Whistler made a few changes.

Then a few more.

Whistler was very pleased with how the room was going - so pleased that he started inviting people in to admire it.

Word spread and eventually, a rather irritated Leyland heard of it.

He had some sharp words for Whistler.

The artist blithely painted the main open wall with Leyland as an angry peacock attacking a peaceful peacock (identifiable as Whistler).

Leyland was furious, but not stupid. The room is amazingly beautiful and he kept it just as Whistler had painted it. After Leyland's death, Freer bought it and donated it to the Freer Gallery where you can see it today.

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