Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

While in Hot Springs, several people said, “You’ve got to go to Crystal Bridges.” I had no idea what they were talking about but they said it was an art museum that featured the art collection of Alice Walton. It didn’t even ring a bell who she is. But, I looked it up and we decided that we did, indeed, need to stop in Bentonville, Arkansas to visit Crystal Bridges.

Alice Walton, the daughter of Sam Walton, who was the man who started Wal-Mart, has loved art all her life and began collecting it as a young girl. Finally, in 2011, she opened Crystal Bridges which houses part of her vast collection. The public is invited to enjoy her American art for free! The architecture itself is a work of art and was explained by a tour guide.

This photo shows a sketch that the architect made on a napkin to give Alice Walton an idea of his vision. I find these quick sketches that artists do fascinating.

He nailed it!

The gardens were beautiful as well and there are many hiking paths that include sculptures to enjoy along the way. We enjoyed going into the geodesic dome. Great selfie opportunity!

See the little people inside? It was big.

And Matt got a great bear hug.

And found a guy he tried to cheer up.

We showed up at just the right time. There was a display of the work of Chihuly. His blown glass sculptures are amazing.

Alice Walton bought and moved a house built by Frank Lloyd Wright. I love touring his houses!

I saw several quotes on this excursion that I loved. Here is one of them.

After enjoying the grounds, we made our way inside. I just know I could spend several days viewing all the art inside the beautiful museum. In my lifetime, I have not been to that many art museums and I’m making up for it now. It is intriguing, the whole idea of art. What makes something art? Why would people care about and pay money for some “art”. I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but some art puzzles me. Here are some of the pieces that I enjoyed.

“Kindred Spirits” by Asher Brown Durand. Matt decided that this was his favorite piece in the whole museum. I loved it too! Later, I looked it up and found out that Alice Walton spent $35 million on just this one painting. Again, I was amazed that she shared such a wonderful treasure with us!

Famous portrait of George Washington by Charles Willson Peale

Mrs. Theodore Atkinson Jr. by John Singleton Copley

I’m amazed at how he painted the fabric in this painting. I studied it for quite some time since I am working on a rug hooking piece that includes clothing.

Landscape by Mark Tansey

The Big Black Bang by Ghada Amer

I asked one of the people working there if there were any fiber arts in the exhibit. They told me there was a quilt, but that’s it. We need more hooked art pieces in museums! Maya’s Quilt of Life by Faith Ringgold

Time by Max Ferguson What amazing detail!

Circle of Flowers by Alma Thomas

Self-portrait with Drawing by David Bates

Coca-Cola by Andy Warhol

Rosie the Riveter by Norman Rockwell

Florida Mexicana by Alfredo Ramos Martinez

Jimson Weed by Georgia O’Keeffe

A New Jersey Village by Bluemner

Summertime by Mary Cassatt

View Near Polling by William Merritt Chase. I find that I love paintings of sheep now that I use wool all the time in my rug hooking.

Arboretum By Flashbulb by Stuart Davis

Another quote that I thought was perfect.

Inspired is how I felt after going to Crystal Bridges. And thankful that Alice Walton has shared her love of art with us all. We found out that there is the Wal-Mart museum nearby too. The Waltons sound like wonderful people. I loved the quote that Alice’s mother, Helen, is known for. They are words I want to live by too.

Finally, Matt and I took THE BEST SELFIE EVER!

Downton Abbey on our Delaware Date

Did you know that Downton Abbey is in Delaware?! Well, let me back up a bit. As you have probably noticed by now, Matt and I find geocaches wherever we go and we have made it a goal to cache the states. Geocaching.com keeps track of our finds and there was a big gap for Delaware. We had found caches in every state along the Atlantic Ocean except that one. We never seem to have a reason for going to that particular state, so on Saturday, we decided it was Delware Date Day! I didn’t, however, want to drive all that way just to get a geocache and come home.

After researching on the internet, I found the perfect place to visit; the du Pont home, Winterthur. It sounded like just my kind of place, beautiful home to tour, 60 acres of gardens, museums and …get this…a special display of the costumes from the TV show, Downton Abbey. When we arrived, I was a bit disappointed that Winterthur was shrouded to cover scaffolding but we did get our photo in front of the Abbey. We welcome you to journey with us into the world of Downton Abbey and Winterthur.DSC_6999 2

The display of costumes was so well done. They started it out by showing us what the staff wears on the show. All throughout there were quotes from Downton Abbey, photos and videos playing clips. DSC_6944 2

The dresses and hats were incredibly beautiful! I thought maybe costumes for a show might look cheap up close. But these had lovely embroidery and beading. DSC_6979 2 DSC_6977 2 DSC_6951 2 DSC_6947 2 DSC_6963 2

I found it interesting that they would often start with a vintage piece and then create the rest of a gown from it. One example was the wedding dress that the character Edith wore. The veil was vintage and then the dress created to go with it. The antique veil was exquisitely beaded and the dress, while lovely, was not quite as spectacularly beaded. DSC_6968 2 DSC_6964 2

There were many more things to view in the Downton Abbey display and it was well attended. Many women showed up in lovely dresses and hats to view the costumes.DSC_6998 2

At the end of the display, there were three containers in which you could put a button. You were asked why you thought the show was so popular. The choices were historical content, costumes or storyline. I think many found it difficult to answer. Those costumes sure were beautiful! I thought maybe they should have had a fourth container with the words under it, “My wife makes me watch it.” It was time to tour the home of the du Pont family, Winterthur.

We had an excellent tour guide, Kathy, who led us through the house as if we were visitors from the time period of Downton Abbey, 1920s. She said as visitors of the du Pont’s for a weekend, we would be expected to have twelve changes of clothes. I said that I hoped they would have a lady’s maid for me since that was a lot of changing! She said, “Yes. The duPonts will always provide a maid if you don’t bring your own.” Whew!

We heard live piano playing as we entered a living area. Kathy said we would spend our morning here. Someone joked that they wouldn’t want to have a headache and be there in that room with the hand painted wallpaper.DSC_7013 2

Winterthur has an oval staircase.DSC_7016 2

The last du Pont to live at Winterthur, Henry Francis du Pont, loved the color green. He used thirty-two different shades of green in his home since he felt that everything went with green. He had come to that conclusion from enjoying his large gardens. Mr. du Pont noticed every detail and was extremely particular in decorating his home. He collected sixty sets of dishes so that after picking fresh flowers from his garden, he could match the china and napkin color to the bouquet. DSC_7032 2

Henry du Pont’s love of detail led him to decorate his 120 room house as a museum. He fully intended that it would be left for others to enjoy, along with his gardens.DSC_7040 2

And we did enjoy the garden, too, especially the enchanted one. I kissed a frog to see if I would find a prince.DSC_7049 2

I did! But he almost disappeared in a fairy mist.DSC_7057 2

So, I sat at the little house and examined the thatched roof.DSC_7052 2

My prince found me and we explored the rest of the displays in the museum. There was a large display of soup tureens from the Campbell family. This was my one of my favorites.DSC_7074 2

Although I thought this one was great too!DSC_7070 2

I enjoyed the paintings and textiles.DSC_7095 2 DSC_7076 2

Matt found a display of woodworking tools that were more his speed.DSC_7088 2

Finally, we got our Delaware geocache! Our Delaware Date was perfect!DSC_7039 2One more pic from the Downton Abbey display!DSC_6990