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Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Hirshhorn Museum DC 2007

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is a museum of contemporary and modern art and currently focuses its collection-building and exhibition-planning mainly on the post–World War II.

A Tour of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Highlights of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

  • “The Burghers of Calais” by Auguste Rodin
    • “The Burghers of Calais” by Auguste Rodin is one of his most famous sculptures. It commemorates a historical incident during the Hundred Years’ War, when Calais, a prominent French port on the English Channel, was under siege by the English for over a year and was forced to surrender. The victors offered to spare the city if six of its leaders would surrender themselves and walk out wearing nooses around their necks, carrying the keys to the town and castle. One of the wealthiest of the town leaders volunteered, and five other burghers volunteered to join him. It is this moment when the volunteers leave the city gates that this sculpture depicts. Rodin captured the poignant mix of defeat, heroic self-sacrifice, and willingness to face imminent death.
  • “Kiepenkerl” by Jeff Koons
    • “Kiepenkerl” by Jeff Koons references an 1896 sandstone sculpture of a traveling peddler or “Kiepenkerl” by August Schmiemann in Münster, Germany. Koons’s replica sculpture was constructed of polished cast stainless steel and cast in 1987.  The statue depicts a full-length figure of a man, with a basket on his back, and a basket at the ground near his right leg, all in shiny finish surfaces.
  • “The Figure” by Jacques Lipchitz
    • “The Figure” by Jacques Lipchitz was inspired by the principles of Cubism. It was modeled between 1926-1930 and cast in bronze in 1958-1961. Lipchitz’s style incorporated biomorphic shapes that model artistic design elements of life. Biomorphic comes from combining the Greek words ‘bios’, meaning life, and ‘morphe,’ meaning form, and was introduced in the 1930s to describe the imagery in the abstract types of surrealist art. Jacques Lipchitz was a Lithuanian Jewish sculptor, whose work was influenced by cubism. He lived and worked in France, the USA, Israel, and Italy. Lipchitz was absorbed by themes of love, motherhood, homeland, humanity and goodness and evil as depicted in the images of the Old Testament of Greek and Roman mythology.
  • “The Great Warrior of Montauban” by Antoine Bourdelle
    • “The Great Warrior of Montauban” by Antoine Bourdelle was commissioned in 1897, by the village of Montauban to commemorate the Franco-Prussian War. Often referred to in France as the War of 1870, it was a conflict between France and the German states led by the Kingdom of Prussia. The battle was caused by Prussian ambitions to extend German unification and the French fears of the shift in the European balance of power.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

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“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow.
The shadow is what we think of it;
the tree is the real thing.”

– Abraham Lincoln

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Photo Credit: By Gryffindor [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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