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Highlights from the Dumbarton Oaks Rare Book Collection
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Rare Book Reading Room and Gallery
Located in Visit / Museum / Exhibitions
Museum
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The Dumbarton Oaks Museum is known for its specialized collections of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art. Although far-reaching in scope and wide-ranging in stylistic expression, the objects are unified by a rare beauty and refined craftsmanship, the result of the discerning eye of the collectors and founders of Dumbarton Oaks, Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss.
Located in Visit
Philip Johnson at Dumbarton Oaks
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This online resource commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of Philip Johnson’s Pre-Columbian pavilion at Dumbarton Oaks. Johnson’s architectural masterpiece opened in 1963 and is now seen as a seminal building in his late 1950s’ shift from International Style modernism to Postmodern classicism. Despite this recognition, the Johnson wing has been little discussed or studied. This anniversary year provides an excellent opportunity to commemorate the Pre-Columbian collection’s impressive housing—arguably a work of art in its own right.
Located in Resources
Imagining the Empress: Theodora in Popular Culture, 1882–1922
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Orientation Gallery | Shows how the Byzantine empress captured the public imagination at the end of the nineteenth century.
Located in Visit / Museum / Exhibitions
City Water/City Life
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Through August 2017 in the Rare Book Gallery | Traces the development of water elements in three historic cities and their interaction with social and cultural milieus.
Located in Visit / / Exhibitions / Past Special Exhibitions
Collecting in Paris and London, 1912–1919
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Bliss Gallery | Explores the taste and acquisitions of Robert and Mildred Bliss when they lived in Paris.
Located in Visit / Museum / Exhibitions
Ancient Textiles
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Through March 2018 in the Textile Gallery | Features late Roman and early Byzantine hangings and curtains alongside Andean looped and woven garments.
Located in Visit / Museum / Exhibitions
Ancient Bronzes in the Dumbarton Oaks Collections
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Through March 2018 in the Courtyard Gallery | Highlights the craft of bronze metallurgy and the use and meaning of ancient works in bronze.
Located in Visit / Museum / Exhibitions
Women in Art, 1850–1910
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Through March 2018 in the Special Exhibition Gallery | Examines the fashionably dressed urban woman of the late nineteenth century in works collected by the Blisses, who admired the art of the Impressionists.
Located in Visit / Museum / Exhibitions
Manuscripts in the Byzantine Collection
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Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss acquired the first manuscript for the museum in 1939. Over the years, the holdings have come to include four Greek manuscripts, one Georgian manuscript, three illuminated leaves from Greek manuscripts, one illustrated leaf from an Armenian manuscript, and four papyrus fragments with Greek writing.
Located in Resources