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Georgetown's art scene is, in a word, "diverse"
by Stephen Gratz

A walk around the Wisconsin Avenue area known as Book Hill (named for the 85-year old Georgetown library, perched atop a steep, verdant knoll,) reveals a scattering of disparate art spaces. Art-lovers can peruse examples of 21st century abstraction, contemporary and old world prints, antique maps, sparkling glassworks, regional landscapes, 19th century Americana, cutting-edge photography and 20th-century blue-chip masters – a diverse and challenging mélange. The Book Hill galleries share an opening date for their autumn shows - Friday, September 12. Several galleries are new to this neighborhood, but many have been here for years. A few other Georgetown galleries lie further afield, and may not share the fall opening date.

Addison/Ripley Fine Art, at Wisconsin Avenue and Reservoir Road, occupies a spacious, light filled corner space across from the Georgetown library. Christopher Addison and partner Sylvia Ripley opened their Dupont Circle carriage house gallery in 1981 and moved to Georgetown some 15 years later. The gallery parades a regularly changing mixture of contemporary talents. Always tastefully and thoughtfully curated, Mr. Addison's exhibitions are a welcome and cultured addition to the local art scene. Some of the brightest stars of the Washington art world - Lou Stovall, Manon Cleary, William Dunlap, Edith Kuhnle and Frank Hallam Day, among many others, complement the collection.

A block south of Addison/Ripley on 33rd Street one finds Robert Brown Gallery, Neptune Fine Art and the recently opened All We Art Gallery.

Robert Brown started his Manhattan gallery in 1978 and relocated to Washington in 1981. In 2011 Mr. Brown moved his gallery to Georgetown. He has accumulated a rich selection of artworks - 20th century masters, oriental antiquities, Chinese advertising posters, photographs, prints and sculptures ; his elegant display rooms are sparsely hung with nicely framed modern works.

Robert Brown Gallery's fall exhibition will feature five South African artists: Roger Ballen, Deborah Bell, Willem Boshoff, William Kentridge and Diane Victor, and will include drawing, sculpture, photography, prints and a special light box piece by Kentridge.

Robert Brown and Neptune Fine Art share the same two-story townhouse. Drawing on experience in the New York scene of auction houses, galleries and museums, Christine Neptune opened Chelsea's Neptune Fine Art in 2000. Relocated to Washington, Neptune Fine Art's impressive collection includes works by Pablo Picasso, Wolf Kahn, Ellsworth Kelly, Chuck Close , Henri Matisse and others. There's pleasantly secluded sculpture garden out back.

The colorful All We Art Gallery has recently moved into the 33rd Street building next door. Owner/director Pablo Brito- Altamira and his wife Luisa Elena Vidaurre opened the space this June in order to showcase modern Venezuelan artists. This small and tastefully appointed salon has a rear section displaying a variety of handmade Venezuelan crafts, but the focus is on two intimate front rooms, each featuring a selection of Latin American artists. The couple's daughter, Camille Brito-Reale, is the creative architectural force behind the cleverly designed gallery. The angular, free-standing display walls warrant attention from any gallery finding itself both short on space and intrigued by innovative design.

All We Art's fall show is a solo exhibition by multi-media artist Anrika Rupp, a New York native currently living in Caracas.

Across the street and a few steps down Wisconsin Avenue, Susan Calloway Fine Art, Maureen Littleton Gallery, Cross McKenzie Gallery and Washington Printmakers Gallery offer four distinctive visions.

Susan Calloway Gallery has been in Georgetown since 1993, and has occupied the 1643 Wisconsin Ave. address since July of 2000. It's an intimate space, crowded with quirky miscellany on the first floor; opting for sparser displays on the bright, airy second. Ms. Calloway has assembled a trove of antique oils and 19th and 20th century works, and her upstairs gallery rotates a selection of carefully chosen contemporary artists, frequently featuring highly personal landscapes. Susan Calloway Fine Art
Susan Calloway Gallery
The gallery's September show is The Light that She Loves: Literary Paintings and Drawings by Maud Taber-Thomas. Ms. Taber-Thomas works out of Washington DC and New York City, and specializes in portraiture and literary and historical themes.

Maureen Littleton, daughter of renowned glass sculptor Harvey Littleton, has been the director and owner of her eponymous gallery since 1984 . Specializing in 3-dimensional works, the narrow, spare and refined gallery offers the sine qua non of internationally recognized glassmakers and sculptors. Her collection includes works by Dale Chihuly, Hiroshi Yamono, Michael Janis, Harvey Littleton and others.

Rebecca Cross and Max MacKenzie opened Cross Mackenzie Gallery in 2006 in order to showcase contemporary ceramic specialists, but their artists represent a variety of mediums, including photography, painting and sculpture. Cross Mackenzie has joined a small handful of galleries who have recently relocated to upper Georgetown. This cozy, bright and inviting storefront, with a large, street-facing display window, opened this summer. Upcoming exhibitions for the 2014-2015 season will feature various artists and diverse materials, and will include collaborative shows with the Cultural Service of the Embassy of France.

Washington Printmakers Gallery has just opened its third Washington incarnation. Recently moving from Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Silver Spring to the better-trafficked Book Hill, this cooperative, founded in 1985, hosts monthly shows of members' work. It's a snug and inviting space, newly renovated, and nestled above a bustling pizza carryout. The artists are chosen by jury, and pay monthly or yearly membership fees. On September 12th the gallery will unfurl its members' best current efforts.

The Old Print Gallery, just off M Street on 31st, was established in 1971. Purchased by The Old Print Shop in New York City in 2007, the gallery acquired a vast collection of Americana , nautical and natural history themes, maps, sporting scenes and other diverse arcana, all neatly organized and catalogued by subject matter. The current exhibition, Form, Light, Line: Architecture in Print, is open until Sept. 13. The gallery is planning a show of contemporary prints to open this fall.

DTR Modern Gallery has a presence in several east coast cities – Boston, New York, and Palm Beach among them. Located at Pennsylvania Avenue and 28th Street, DTR Modern is a relative newcomer to DC, having arrived in 2012. A secluded upstairs space presents prints by 20th century luminaries Salvador Dali, Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso, Jim Dine, Andy Warhol and others. Two street- level rooms feature an ever-evolving assortment of stellar contemporary talents. Big-time art-world bad boys Damien Hirst and Hunt Slonem are frequently on display. James Verbicky, a Canadian/California hybrid, is an established presence with a selection of finely crafted mixed-media works. Sculptor Rainer Lagemann, whose delicate, lattice-like human forms were recently acquired by Washington's Kreeger Museum, is a favorite of both collectors and gallery visitors. DTR Modern's several locations rotate a central collection amongst themselves, and the shows change frequently.

Guarisco Gallery, an opulent space in the Ritz Carlton Hotel, has a collection featuring 600 paintings from every major school within the 19th and early 20th century, including Romantic, Barbizon, Victorian, Belle Époque, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works. Subject matter ranges from sporting pieces, marines, and orientalist works to still-life, landscapes and elegant and charming genre works. The selection caters to the seasoned buyer as well as the new collector. Guarisco is on 22nd Street, on the edge of Georgetown.

Bookmark the night of September 12th. There's a nice communal spirit at work here, and the Book Hill's mutual openings offer a one-night opportunity to mingle with Washington's conversant and knowledgeable crowd.