East Building, National Gallery of Art Has Reopened

The iconic I. M. Pei-designed East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington reopened to the public on June 30, 2022. The building had been closed since February 28, 2022.

The Atrium sports new panes of glass that have restored light to levels originally seen when the building first opened on June 1, 1978. Visitors now enter through a more accessible main entrance.

The East Building displays two new exhibitions:

Portrait of Madeleine Mabille by Fernand Khnopff (1888) from the Exhibition entitled “The Woman in White” – ©David H. Enzel, 2022
Exhibition: “The Double: Identity and Difference in Art since 1900” – ©David H. Enzel, 2022

Hôtel de la Marine, Paris

The hôtel de la Marine (also known as the hôtel du Garde-Meuble) is an historic building located on Place de la Concorde in Paris, to the east of rue Royale. It was designed and built between 1757 and 1774 by the architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel, on the newly created square first called Place Louis XV. The identical building to its west, constructed at the same time, now houses the hôtel de Crillon and the Automobile Club of France.

The hôtel de la Marine was originally the home of the royal Garde-Mobile, the office managing the furnishing of all royal properties. Following the French Revolution it became the Ministry of the French Navy, which occupied it until 2015. It was entirely renovated between 2015 and 2021. It now displays the restored 18th century apartments of Marc-Antoine Thierry de Ville-d’Avray, the King’s Intendant of the Garde-Meuble, as well the salons and chambers later used by the French Navy.

Major historical events have taken place in the hôtel de la Marine:

  • On 16 September 1792, the Crown Jewels were stolen at the Hôtel de la Marine. At night, around forty people got inside the reception room where the jewels were displayed and stole goods worth around 30 million French francs. Most of the jewels were found again two years later. However, The French Blue (Le bleu de France) was not recovered. It reappeared 20 years later in England, completely recut with the largest section of the diamond appearing under the Hope name in an 1839 gem catalog from the Hope banking family. The Hope Diamond is now in the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
  • In a room overlooking Place de la Concorde Marie Antoinette’s death warrant was signed. She was guillotined on 16 October 1793 on Place de la Concorde. She was 37 years old.
  • On 27 April 1848, in the office of minister François Arago in the Hôtel de la Marine, the decree to abolish slavery in the French colonies was signed in Paris. Victor Schœlcher, an ardent defender of human rights, was the man behind this historic decision.

The renovation is beautiful. The views of Paris monuments are exceptional. It was a memorable visit.

La grande Loggia de l’Hôtel de la Marine, Paris – © David H. Enzel, 2022

You can see more of the photos I made of the hôtel de la Marine here, including extraordinary time pieces and a modern skylight.

Why Photograph?

Sharing while roaming

Michael Erimo was born in Paris 15th arrondissement, but lives now in 14th arrondissement. A few decades were necessary to make this 1 km trip. This is not anodyne. This simply demonstrates a strong attachement to his native town and moreover to a neighborhood that is all in one for him – including an endless scene for such a curious bystander – a bystander willing to share while roaming for years.

Hence no better instrument than a camera for this passionate photographer particularly interested in street photography and people. 

Paris Street Photography by Michael Erimo

You can also see Michael Erimo’s photographs at Leica Fotografie International.

You can read other reasons people make photographs here.

Accomplished Landscape Photographer Marks Ten Years on Flickr

Landscape photographer Albert Dros celebrates his ten year anniversary on the Flickr blog:

What I love most about looking back on my Flickr stream is that you can see my progress from the start of Flickr until today. I did not delete many images and so you can scroll all the way back to the start of my Flickr account. Scrolling through the stream also kind of defines my photographic journey and brings back many memories.

You can see the beautiful images he shares on Flickr here.

Looking Back and Looking Forward in Washington

V-E Day and an Upcoming Landmark Supreme Court Opinion

Victory in Europe Day

On May 8, 1945, Victory in Europe Day, or V-E Day, Germany unconditionally surrendered its military forces to the Allies, including the United States. There were two surrender signings:

  • The first was on May 7, 1945, when German Col. Gen. Alfred Jodl signed Germany’s surrender on all fronts in Reims, France.
  • The second signing – insisted upon by Soviet Premier Josef Stalin – was by German Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel the next day in Berlin.

Jodl and Keitel were later found guilty of war crimes by the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany, and both were subsequently executed.

The 77th anniversary of V-E Day was commemorated on May 8, 2022 with a fitting ceremony at the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. The U.S. Army Band performed at the ceremony. The U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” (shown here) has been the premier musical organization of the U.S. Army since 1922.

© David H. Enzel, 2022

Scene at the Supreme Court

Further down the mall and up past the Capitol, the Supreme Court seems to be getting ready to announce its decision expected to overturn Roe v. Wade. The Court has been fenced off by order of the Supreme Court Marshal.

© David H. Enzel, 2022

A small number of demonstrators were demonstrating peacefully in front of the fenced off Court on Mother’s Day. We will see what happens once the Court announces its decision. I hope for the best.

© David H. Enzel, 2022
© David H. Enzel, 2022