Burst of Exhibits Paints Art History

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Byline: Joanna Shaw-Eagle, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The District's art season has rarely been so busy.

Highlights include: an astonishing six exhibits opening in September at the National Gallery of Art; the Corcoran Gallery of Art's mix of historic American paintings and cutting-edge contemporary arts; the National Museum of Women in the Arts' new "Women Artists Worldwide" initiative; a full complement of contemporary art shows at American University's new $48 million Cyrus and Myrtle Katzen Arts Center; and the first-rate but too little-known Textile Museum's 80th-anniversary celebration with the landmark "Silk and Leather: Splendid Attire of 19th-Century Central Asia" (through Feb. 26).

Here's a list of the National Gallery's fall offerings:

* "Origins of European Printmaking: Fifteenth-Century Woodcuts and Their Public" (tomorrow through Nov. 27)

*"Prints of Felix Buhot: Impressions of City and Sea" (tomorrow through Feb. 20)

*"Monumental Sculpture From Renaissance Florence: Ghiberti, Nanni di Banco, and Verrocchio at Orsanmichele" (Sept. 18 through Dec. 31)

*"Pieter Claesz: Master of Haarlem Still Life" (Sept. 18 through Dec. 31)

*"Masterpieces in Miniature: Italian Manuscript Illumination From the J. Paul Getty Museum" (Sept. 25 through Jan. 2)

*"Audubon's Dream Realized: Selections From 'The Birds of America'" (Sept. 25 through April 16).

Top shows at the gallery, however, are this winter's "Cezanne in Provence," which honors the pioneering artist at the centenary of his death (Jan. 29 through May 7) and "Dada," a major exhibit exploring the revolutionary, often shocking, 1920s aesthetic movement (Feb. 19 through May 14).

The Corcoran, regrouping from its failure to meet fund-raising targets to upgrade and expand its building, opens the season with the "Warhol Legacy: Selections From the Andy Warhol Museum" in Pittsburgh (Sept. 24 through Feb. 20), a rare opportunity to see both well- and lesser-known works from the largest and most significant public collection of Warhols in the country.

Closer to home, the Corcoran honors Washington's premier artist with the richly deserved "Sam Gilliam: A Retrospective" (Oct. 15 through Jan. 23) while also unfolding the riches of its collection of pre-1945 American master paintings with "Encouraging American Genius" (through Jan. 2).

The National Museum of Women in the Arts pulls off triple coups this season, showcasing some 80 paintings and drawings by the late Alice Neel (Oct. 28 through Jan. …