I particularly was moved by the amazing life masks made of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, when he began his Presidency, and in 1865 -
In the wing that has the Presidential portraits, I particularly delighted in studying the historical portraits, having quite a different insight after twice having heard John Howard Sanden's riveting presentation of his research and experience in recently painting George W Bush's official White House Portrait. I loved George Healy's portrait of President Van Buren.
The contemporary portraits are just as fabulous, no less so than because I have had the extreme pleasure of meeting two of the artists who painted them... Robert Anderson Alexander's portrait of George W Bush here:
(and look at these beautifully painted hands!)
Everett Raymond Kinstler's portrait of Gerald Ford here:
Below, Ronald Sherr's timeless painting of George H W Bush (I have not yet had the chance to meet Ron in person but hope to do so soon :)
And here is the other very cool thing I saw, the well-named exhibit, "American Cool", a collection of (mostly) photographs of people who defined 'cool' - everything from Muddy Waters to Lenny Bruce to James Dean, to Angela Davis to Marlon Brando to Hunter S Thompson...here are a few:
Richard Avedon's photo of Bob Dylan:
Annie Leibovitz's pic of Johnny Depp:
Linda McCartney's photo of Jimi Hendrix:
As I was leaving the exhibits, here was this wonderful collection of license plates, "We the people..."
...and then just before actually leaving, I went to the gift shop where I hoped to find a t-shirt with the Jimi Hendrix photo and nearly fell over backward to see my book on the gift shop shelf. Holy moly.