Dumbarton Oaks houses the extraordinary art collection begun by Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss. In this book the museum publishes the specialist collections in Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art, along with examples from the Blisses’ superb European collection, for the first time.
When Robert Bliss recalled handling a jade Olmec figurine in 1913, he said, “That day, the collector’s microbe took root in—it must be confessed—very fertile soil.” The Blisses’ passion for art bore fruit in a remarkably diverse collection: Flemish tapestries, Renaissance furniture, and paintings by the likes of El Greco, Renoir, and Degas. The celebrated Byzantine collection includes floor mosaics from late antique Antioch, sumptuous jewelry, carved ivory reliefs, liturgical silver, and a comprehensive coin and seals collection. The Pre-Columbian collection showcases fine jade carvings, gold jewelry, monumental sculpture, ritual weaponry, colorful ceramics, and intricately woven textiles.
The publication of this new guidebook coincides with the complete refurbishment of Dumbarton Oaks and the creative reinstallation of the galleries. The curators offer highlights of the collection, accompanied by a lucid and thought-provoking text. Dumbarton Oaks—The Collections is intended as a valuable resource and a pleasure to read for scholars and nonspecialists alike.