A Few of our Favorite Things … Part 2
Washington DC is a city full of extraordinary art galleries where, as you may have noticed, most of the work on display was done years ago by artists who are “no longer with us”, as they say. Reading their stories, you find that many were impoverished most of their lives. Few lived in luxury. Few even had the chance to live comfortably.
Courtney and I feel that art is an indispensable part of life. What a miserable place this world would be without it! So, many years ago we came up with our “Support a Living Artist” campaign. It’s great to buy the works of dead guys (and gals), but it’s the living artists who need our support.
All of the artwork we display at Embassy Circle Guest House and Woodley Park Guest House was purchased from living artists … almost all of whom have been our guests. We know and love the artists whose paintings we display. It’s definitely been a very satisfying way to fill the walls.
We met Shoshanna when she still lived in Washington, D.C., before she got married and moved to Germany. Actually, Courtney and Joe met her first. They purchased a lovely pastel at a local gallery and, noticing that Shoshanna loves to paint “portraits” of buildings, commissioned her to do a “portrait” of the Woodley Park Guest House as a surprise for one of my more significant birthdays.
Shoshanna is an Ã¢â‚¬Ëœen plein air’ painter, so she set up her easel across the street from the Guest House and went to work. Of course, I noticed. I was delighted that someone was painting our Guest House and ran out the door and across the street to see … and perhaps to buy … the painting.
Well, my sister Courtney is a crafty sibling, and she had already instructed Shoshanna what to say when I showed up to buy the painting.
“Oh, I don’t know what I would sell it for”, she said. “We can talk about that when I finish it.”
For weeks I kept track of Shoshanna’s progress on the painting, loving it more and more every time I saw it. Then, to my great dismay, she … and the painting … disappeared. I complained bitterly to Courtney and everyone else who would listen about this “flakey” artist who had done a beautiful pastel of the Guest House … and disappeared without selling it to me.
On my birthday, there was one very large box, about the size of a CPU, waiting for me. I had absolutely no idea what it could be. I opened the box and there, beautifully framed, was
Shoshanna’s “portrait” of the Guest House. I was speechless … a very rare occurrence … and absolutely delighted with the painting and with Courtney and Shoshanna’s hilarious stories of the effort it took to hide the surprise from me. You guessed it! It turns out that EVERYONE on my staff had known about this … except, of course, me!
Since that first painting, we have purchased many more beautiful architectural paintings and still lifes from Shoshanna. Room 122 … Rose Tabriz, at Embassy Circle Guest House, is a Shoshanna Ahart gallery, and we’re in the process of turning at least one of the rooms at the Woodley Park Guest House into a gallery of her work as well. In fact, a group of beautiful new paintings is on its way to Washington, DC from Germany right now!
Louise Link Rath
We met Louise and her husband Dan when their daughter was attending American University here in Washington DC. We loved her work at first sight … large, vibrant, realistic blossoms; multi-hued leaves and golden grasses. Louise’s preferred subjects were all found in her own backyard … tulips, irises (iri), sunflowers and grasses. She loved all of these growing things in every stage of their lives … from bud to blossom to dead foliage.
When we were getting ready to open Embassy Circle Guest House, we needed a pair of beautiful paintings for the living room. We selected two paintings of tulips … Rejoice and Shadow Dance. Louise loved Rejoice so much that she didn’t want to sell it to us. I have to say that I will be forever grateful that she did. It’s a beautiful painting. The tulips truly look like they are rejoicing.
We somehow couldn’t stop at just two paintings however. Louise had a gorgeous painting of four purple irises (4 Iri) that we just had to have. We hung it in Room 124 … Pearl Gazvin.
And then there was another beautiful painting of iri with huge drooping heads. I tried to keep that one at Embassy too, but Courtney insisted, rather forcefully as I remember, that Woodley needed one of Louise’s paintings also. It currently hangs there in Room 108.
Every few months I look at Louise’s website to see her new work. Recently, she has been doing beautiful portraits. I’ve never wanted a portrait of me … but if she could make me look really good Ã¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â¦