Walk New York City’s Museum Mile, see the birthplace of the nation in Philadelphia and learn its story so far in Washington DC’s Smithsonian art museum: for an unparalleled overview of the American artistic experience, you need look no further.
Our tour begins in New York City with visits to two distinguished institutions on ‘Museum Mile’, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (known simply as ‘The Met’), one of the world’s finest museums with works of art from classical antiquity to modern American, and the Guggenheim, an icon of 20th-century architecture which houses a sumptuous collection. We spend a day in up-state New York on the banks of the Hudson River with visits to a Rockefeller mansion and a fine sculpture garden before returning to Museum Mile for our final two days in NYC, visiting the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Frick Collection and the Museum of Art and Design. At the risk of sensory overload, these visits provide the opportunity for an in-depth examination of some oustanding works of art.
We then transfer to Philadelphia, whose sights included Independence Hall, known as the ‘Birthplace of the Nation’. We tour the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Barnes Foundation as well as the wonderful gardens at Chanticleer.
Moving on to Washington DC, we call in at the Longwood Gardens, one of the world’s greatest gardens, with its lawns and trees, orchids, bonsai and cascades. In the nation’s capital city we explore the Smithsonian American Art Museum, home to one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art, and the National Gallery of Art, which aims to foster a scholarly understanding of the subject. We also venture out of the city to see the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, which features exquisite works of art from Russia and France, and finally Dumbarton Oaks Garden and Museum, a beautifully landscaped garden complemented by a museum filled with specialist collections.
Tuesday 9 October 2018
We depart from London on a flight to New York. On arrival we are met by our local coach and transfer to our hotel in Manhattan, New York City. Dinner is available in the hotel each evening (not included).
Wednesday 10 October 2018
Following breakfast we depart for a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (known simply as ‘The Met’), one of the world’s largest and finest museums. Represented in the permanent collection are works of art from classical antiquity and Ancient Egypt, paintings and sculptures from nearly all the European masters, and an extensive collection of American and modern art.
We will then continue along ‘Museum Mile’ to the Guggenheim Museum, a landmark work of 20th-century architecture. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the cylindrical building, wider at the top than the bottom, was conceived as a "temple of the spirit". Its unique ramp gallery extends up from ground level in a long, continuous spiral along the outer edges of the building to end just under the ceiling skylight. The museum's collection has grown organically, over eight decades, and is founded upon several important private collections, beginning with Solomon R. Guggenheim's original collection.
Evening at leisure.
Thursday 11 October 2018
After breakfast this morning travel north along the banks of the Hudson river to Kykuit garden, which was begun by the oil billionaire John D. Rockefeller and served as a Rockefeller family summer retreat from 1913 to 1991. Kykuit (pronounced 'cake-8') means 'lookout' in Dutch and it has fine views over the magnificent scenery of the Hudson Valley. Rockefeller commissioned Olmsted Brothers for the design but was not happy with their work and began laying out walks and doing his own planting. He then asked the landscape architect William Welles Bosworth to design formal gardens near the house and today the garden is a fine American example of the Mixed Style. A host of attractive features includes terraces, a semi-circular rose garden, fountains, a Japanese Garden and an Italian loggia.
A classic American corporate headquarters may seem an unlikely setting for a garden visit but in the grounds of the head offices of PepsiCo we find the Donald M Kendall Sculpture Gardens, one of the finest examples of its kind in the world. Conceived and commissioned by a former PepsiCo CEO, the gardens contain works by world-renowned luminaries of 20th century sculpture such as Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore and Joan Miró. British landscape designer Russell Page was enlisted in 1980 to reshape the landscape and created a garden of classically simple design. Vistas unfold across sweeping lawns to woodland fringes, and three cool, contemporary courtyards with sunken lily pools make formal gardens between the interlinked buildings. Evening at leisure.
Friday 12 October 2018
We return to ‘Museum Mile’ today for a visit to the Museum of Modern Art (known as MoMA), which is often identified as the most influential museum of modern art in the world. Since its opening in 1929 it has been instrumental in developing and collecting modernist art and today its collection includes works of architecture and design, drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, prints, illustrated books and artist's books, film and electronic media.
In the afternoon we visit the Whitney Museum of American Art. Designed by architect Renzo Piano and situated between the High Line and the Hudson River, the building will vastly increase the Whitney’s exhibition and programming space, providing the first comprehensive view of its unsurpassed collection of modern and contemporary American art. Among the hundreds of artists represented are Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock and Roy Lichtenstein, whose iconic works will be familiar to many.
Evening at leisure.
Saturday 13 October 2018
Following breakfast we begin our final day in NYC with a visit to the Frick Collection, which includes masterpieces of European painting, major works of sculpture (among them one of the finest groups of small bronzes in the world), superb eighteenth-century French furniture and porcelain, old master and nineteenth-century works on paper, Limoges enamels, and other works of remarkable quality.
We continue to the Museum of Arts and Design, which collects, displays and interprets objects that document contemporary and historic innovation in craft, art, and design. In its exhibitions and educational programs, the Museum celebrates the creative process through which materials are crafted into works that enhance contemporary life.
Following our visit here we depart by coach for Philadelphia (100miles approx.) and on arrival check in at our hotel, where the evening is at leisure.
Sunday 14 October 2018
This morning we will have a panoramic sightseeing tour of Philadelphia with our local guide. Sights include the Independence Hall, the birthplace of the nation - in these revered halls the Declaration of Independence was adopted and the US constitution was written – and the Liberty Bell, the nation’s most hallowed symbol of liberty. We conclude our tour at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which was originally chartered in 1876 for the Centennial Exposition. Among its impressive holdings in Renaissance, American, Impressionist and Modern art, some standouts include a great Rogier van der Weyden altarpiece, a large Bathers by Cezanne, a room devoted to Philadelphia’s own Thomas Eakins, and Marcel Duchamp’s notorious mixed-media Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors (The Large Glass), exactly as the dada master installed it. Upstairs, breathe in other cultures and times through over 80 period rooms, from the medieval cloister to the Indian temple.
In the afternoon we visit the gardens at Chanticleer in Wayne. The house on this site, built by Adolph Rosengarten from 1912, is surrounded by the original seven acres of gardens, which are a joy to explore. The grass is planted with bulbs and wildflowers, framed by trees, and there are bold plantings of hostas, ferns and hogweed. The steps are massed with asclepias and rubeckias and the original sunken garden with its central pool and arbour has a magnificent forest pansy.
We return to our hotel in Philadelphia where the evening is at leisure.
Monday 15 October 2018
After breakfast today we begin with a visit to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, a jewel nestled in the heart of Center City, which boasts a vast collection of American art and treasures by local and national luminaries such as Charles Willson Peale (founder of the Academy), Thomas Eakins (who taught here), and Violet Oakley. One of Gilbert Stuart’s portraits of George Washington is a special source of pride for locals, as are other well-known paintings by artists such as Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Edward Hopper and Cecilia Beaux. The 1876 national Historic Landmark Building designed by Frank Furness and George W. Hewitt provides a wildly colourful and extravagantly detailed setting for PAFA’s historic art collection.
We continue to the Barnes Foundation, which was established in 1922 by Albert C. Barnes to “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture” and now holds one the greatest private collections of impressionist, post-impressionist and early-modern paintings. There are more than 3,000 masterpieces, including 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes, 59 Matisses, 46 Picassos, 16 Modiglianis, and seven Van Goghs, plus textiles, metalwork, decorative objects, African sculpture, Native American ceramics and jewellery and Pennsylvania German furniture.
Evening at leisure.
Tuesday 16 October 2018
This morning we visit Longwood Gardens, truly one of the world’s most fantastic gardens with 1050 acres of manicured lawns, glass conservatories, ancient trees, illuminated fountains and other outstanding features - truly the ultimate garden treasure. You will see special displays of orchids and bonsais and the Cascade Garden, which is a beautiful display of 16 different mini-waterfalls. Lunch is available here (not included).
In the afternoon we travel to Washington DC (120 miles approx.) and check in to our hotel. Evening at leisure.
Wednesday 17 October 2018
Following breakfast we begin today with a visit to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, home to the nation's first art collection, an unparalleled record of the American experience from the colonial period to today. The museum is the home to one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art in the world. Highlights are images of the American West, WPA murals, impressionism, folk art, photography, video and media art, works by African American and Latino artists, and modern and contemporary art.
In the afternoon we move on to the National Gallery of Art, one of the world’s pre-eminent museums, which preserves, collects, exhibits and fosters the understanding of works of art at the highest possible museum and scholarly standards. The Gallery's collection includes some 141,000 paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, decorative arts and new media tracing the development of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present.
Evening at leisure.
Thursday 18 October 2018
This morning we travel out to the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens. Marjorie Merriweather Post, whose fortune came from cereals and processed foods, bought Hillwood in 1955 and soon decided her home would be a museum that would inspire and educate the public. Her estate endowed the country with the most comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia, a distinguished 18th-century French decorative art collection and twenty-five acres of serene landscaped gardens and natural woodlands for all to enjoy. Opened as a public institution in 1977, today Hillwood's allure stems from the equally fascinating parts that make up the whole. From the captivating life of Marjorie Post to the exquisitely maintained Mansion and Gardens, the experience of Hillwood outshines even the Fabergé Eggs. Hillwood’s spectacular gardens capture the vision Marjorie Post conceived when rebuilding the estate in the 1950s. She hired prominent landscape architects Umberto Innocenti and Richard Webel to expand the existing gardens. Thirteen acres of formal gardens extend from the house’s terraces and porches in a progression of "outdoor rooms."
Our final visit takes us to Dumbarton Oaks Garden and Museum. In 1920 Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss purchased a fifty-three-acre property, described as "an old-fashioned house standing in rather neglected grounds," at the highest point of Georgetown. Within a year the Blisses hired landscape gardener Beatrix Farrand to design the gardens. Working in happy and close collaboration for almost thirty years, Mildred Bliss and Beatrix Farrand planned every garden detail, each terrace, bench, urn, and border. The Museum features specialized collections of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art, European masterpieces on view in the historic Music Room, and a rotating program of Special Exhibitions.
We return to our hotel in Washington where the evening is free.
Friday 19 October 2018
Following breakfast the morning is free for some last minute shopping and sightseeing. Later we transfer to the airport in time for our homeward flight.
Saturday 20 October 2018
Our overnight flight arrives this morning in London, where the group will disperse or make onward connections.
- Ten nights’ accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis: four nights at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel, New York City; three nights at the Crowne Plaza, Philadelphia; three nights at the Holiday Inn Central (or similar hotels). All rooms have private bathrooms.
- Flights from London to New York and Washington DC to London (business class up-grades, regional flights or connections and additional nights are available at a supplement)
- Visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, The Highline, Kykuit Garden, Donald M Kendall Sculpture Gardens, Frick Collection and Museum of Art and Design (New York); Chanticleer Garden, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia Museum of Art and Longwood (Philadelphia); Smithsonian American Art Museum, National Gallery of Art, Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, Dumbarton Oaks Garden and Museum (Washington DC)
- Services of a Brightwater Holidays tour manager and local guides
- Single room £1200.00
- Insurance Price on request