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Overview
Itinerary
Fitness / Practicalities
Tour Director


  • Staying at a series of high quality hotels, explore a handpicked selection of the superlative museums and galleries to be found along America’s East Coast

  • Experience great works of art by European masters such as Jan van Eyck, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Cézanne, Picasso and Matisse, and American artists including Thomas Cole, J M Whistler, Mary Cassatt and Mark Rothko

  • Discover the extraordinary American collectors whose wealth and philanthropy shaped these collections, including Andrew and Paul Mellon, Alfred Barnes, the Cone sisters and Henry Francis du Pont

"First class tour guide in Sarah who leaves no stone unturned to maximise and enhance guests’ enjoyment and understanding of the works displayed… I strongly recommend ACE to all my friends with an interest in art"

- ACE customer on a 2023 art tour in the US led by Sarah Burles

In spring 2025, we look forward to visiting the outstanding art collections to be found in the American cities of Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC. The rich holdings of paintings, sculpture and works of decorative art at important sites such as the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art and Baltimore Museum of Art are a must-see for any art lover, and our tour will also venture off the beaten track to explore some lesser-known gems.

 

We begin in Philadelphia, with a visit to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, founded in 1805 as America’s first art school. We will also discover the city’s extensive Museum of Art with its significant collection of works by Cézanne, Thomas Eakins, Marcel Duchamp and Cy Twombly. The small, tranquil Rodin Museum, which contains one of the world’s greatest collections of the artist’s work and occupies a beautiful Beaux Arts-style building and garden, will be a further highlight.

 

At the Barnes Foundation, some of the world’s most important Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Modern paintings by Seurat, Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse and Picasso are displayed alongside African masks, native American jewellery and Greek antiquities, reflecting the philosophy of its founder, the pharmaceutical philanthropist Dr Albert C Barnes. The collection moved from its original home in 2012 and is now housed in an award-winning building close to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

 

The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighbourhood is considered one of America’s most distinctive museums, whilst the Winterthur Museum is filled with historical decorative objects collected and arranged according to the aesthetic principles of its visionary, the passionate collector Henry Francis du Pont.

 

In the American capital, the Renwick Gallery, a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, displays American craft and decorative arts from the 19th to the 21st centuries, and occupies a National Historic Landmark building constructed as Washington’s first art museum. We will also pay a visit to the Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art.

 

The capital is, moreover, home to the National Museum for Women in the Arts; its collections range from works by Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt to Frida Kahlo and Louise Bourgeois.

 

Throughout the tour, participants will not only have the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of individual works of art of the highest quality, from famous masterpieces to unexpected treasures, but also to learn about how these collections came into being. During guided tours, as well as time spent revelling in the works of art themselves, we will consider the lives, tastes and motivations of the patrons and collectors who amassed these collections, as well as their legacies up to the present day. There will be opportunities to enjoy free time at several of the museums to make the most of their extensive and wide-ranging collections.

 

Accommodation

 

Our accommodation will be in superior standard hotels in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC, chosen for their high quality and to provide comfortable and relaxing bases ideally situated for exploring the cities’ artistic gems.

 

We begin with three nights at the four-star Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia, a sophisticated and elegant property blending traditional design with modern amenities in a 1907 building located within the city’s historic district.

 

We will then continue to Baltimore for two nights at the stylish and refined four-star Hotel Revival Baltimore, dating from the 1920s and located in the historic Mount Vernon neighbourhood, just steps away from the Walters Art Museum.

 

The final two nights of our tour will be spent at the four-star Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington DC, an upscale hotel housed in a former post office dating from 1839 in the city’s Penn Quarter. The property has been recently refreshed and blends grand period architecture with luxury contemporary design.

 

Our hotels are also conveniently located for enjoying dinners out at local restaurants.

 

Hotel_Monaco_Washington

The Hotel Monaco, Washington DC (Photo by AgnosticPreachersKid / CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

 

Tour Director

 
This tour will be led by experienced ACE Tour Director and art history expert Sarah Burles, MA. Sarah studied History of Art at Cambridge University before gaining a Masters degree at University College London. She enjoyed a career in museum and gallery education which included 12 years at the Fitzwilliam Museum, and is an accredited Arts Society lecturer. Sarah is particularly interested in the lives of the collectors and patrons whose legacies have shaped the museums we see today.

 

Tour Director Sarah Burles writes:

 

“I am absolutely thrilled to be leading this return visit to the art museums of Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia and can’t wait to share these extraordinary collections with ACE travellers. They are, quite simply, staggering in their breadth and scale.

 

Starting in Philadelphia, we immediately encounter the ambition and vision of American collectors at the Barnes Foundation and numerous masterpieces at the impressive Philadelphia Museum of Art. More extraordinary personalities await in Baltimore where we will meet the Cone Sisters – travellers, socialites and collectors – who went to Paris in 1903, met Gertrude Stein, Picasso and Matisse and put together one of the most important collections of modern art in America, housed in their Baltimore apartment.

 

In early 1960s Washington, Daniel and Carmen Kreeger built a modernist home to house their art collection, creating a perfect space in which to experience music, architecture and art working in harmony. By contrast, the Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art, is housed in an older family home built at the end of the 19th century. There you will find Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party and a Rothko Room that is one of the only existing installations of his paintings designed in collaboration with the artist.

 

Our final visit of the tour will be to the National Gallery of Art where treasures abound in every room, from the most beautiful portraits by Flemish, Dutch and Italian masters to the light, bright canvases of the Impressionists. Other highlights include Degas’s original Little Dancer (there are numerous bronze copies), Picasso’s melancholic Family of Saltimbanques and the large modern collection housed in the iconic East Wing building, designed by I M Pei in the 1970s. For any art lover, this tour is unmissable.”

Days
9
Cost
£6495
Tour Code
GPBW-25


Included: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, seven breakfasts, five dinners with water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities for group services & all taxes.


Not Included: ESTA, travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £1175.

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