Top 10 Highlights
Here are ten artworks not to miss in the museum's collection. When you visit us, please remember that the Smithsonian American Art Museum's contemporary craft galleries are located in a separate building, the Renwick Gallery.
Georgia O'Keeffe, Manhattan, 1932
Experience the dynamism of Manhattan in the 1930s as captured by one of America's most celebrated artists. See how she combines the energy of a thriving metropolis with ethereal paper flowers floating against the sky.
Thomas Hart Benton, Achelous and Hercules, 1947
The surging shapes and churning rhythms of this allegorical mural convey a vibrant vision of post-World War II America. In this painting, Benton draws on Greek myths to create his monumental vision of America's bounty.
Albert Bierstadt, Among the Sierra Nevada, California, 1868
Bierstadt mesmerized audiences in Europe and America with his idealized vision of the American West. Imagine the reactions of viewers as he presented his latest masterpiece.
John Singer Sargent, Elizabeth Winthrop Chanler (Mrs. John Jay Chapman), 1893
Sargent was one of the foremost portrait painters in the nineteenth century. He captures the regal bearing and strong will of Elizabeth Winthrop Chanler, who was called Queen Bess by her younger siblings.
John La Farge,Peacocks and Peonies I and II, 1882,
As Louis Comfort Tiffany's chief rival, La Farge created stained-glass windows with lush jewel tones and exotic subjects.
Nam June Paik, Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, 1995
This video installation is a neon road trip across America. From the Empire State Building to Idaho potatoes, Paik remind us that individual states still have distinct identities and cultures, even in today's information age.
Jenny Holzer, For SAAM, 2007
Sixty-two hundred LED lights bring words alive in this sculpture created for the museum. The words are programmed to swirl and travel around the body of the piece, varying in size and direction.
Beth Lipman, Bancketje (Banquet), 2003
This tour-de-force glass sculpture captures the visual sumptuousness and excess of a feast like the ones depicted in 17th-century Dutch still-life paintings. It is made of 400 individual pieces!
Larry Fuente, Game Fish, 1988
Fuente transforms recognizable forms with a colorful array of toys, trinkets, beads, plastic figurines, and more. The title of this work is both a play on its classic fisherman's trophy shape and the game pieces that encrust the surface.
James Hampton, The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millennium General Assembly, 1950-1964
This spellbinding artwork made from cast-off objects was created in secret and discovered in a garage after the artist had died. Marvel at how Hampton created a vision of heaven out of other people's trash.