On September 26, more than 50 AAFSW members and guests gathered at Twin Oaks Estate to learn about this beautiful historic house in Northwest DC, and to view the unique sculptures by Taiwanese artist Hung Yi.
Our Taiwanese hosts first took us on a tour of the mansion, which is situated in beautiful parkland in Northwest DC. The house was originally owned by Gardiner Greene Hubbard, the founder of the National Geographic Society, and has a connection to Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, who was Mr. Hubbard’s son-in-law. The Republic of China (ROC) Government purchased the estate in 1947. The mansion has hosted several U.S. presidential figures, including Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, before they became president. Madame Chiang Kai-shek also stayed here during her visits to Washington, DC. The mansion contains many priceless antiques, including a painting allegedly painted by Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi (1835-1908), as well as a set of imperial furniture sent by the Empress Dowager to the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
After the mansion tour, our hosts pointed out the many pieces of colorful, whimsical animal sculptures in the estate gardens, created by acclaimed Taiwanese contemporary artist Hung Yi. The painted metallic sculptures employ child-like design, bright colors, patterns and symbols of folk culture or religion, and are inspired by Hung Yi’s own experience and observations of daily life. Many other examples of Hung Yi’s “Fancy Animal Carnival “ can be seen in other parts of downtown DC as well.
We wish to thank Mr. Jack Yeh-Chin Kuei of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, and the other Twin Oaks hosts for a wonderful, interesting tour of this tranquil corner of Washington, DC.
AAFSW Office Manager