Out of the bedroom and living room of Jo Ann and Julian Ganz Jr. came the paintings, and out of the board rooms of banks around the world came most of the guests.
So it was last night at the East Building of the National Gallery of Art. Dark-suited bankers here for the International Monetary Fund conference took a break from talking money to look at art.
"It's a beautiful place and there's beautiful art and the two are nice together, no?" said Brazilian banker Edmond Safra -- a major shareholder in banks in New York and Geneva -- and the host of this party along with his wife. Actually, at least one Safra brother -- three were there last night and between them they represented three banks -- missed most of the conference because of the Jewish holidays.
"But I'm seeing friends tonight," said Moise Safra, one of the heads of Banco Safra in Brazil, with a shrug and a smile.
Arts patrons and collectors -- in the minority last night -- came because the party was also a preview of "An American Perspective," 19th-century art from the Ganz collection, which opens Sunday at the National Gallery.
Mostly, the bankers gathered on the main floor of the marbled expanses of the museum and the arts enthusiasts gathered in the gallery upstairs, congratulating the Ganzes.
"I don't know one from another," said Franklin Murphy, of the bankers. Murphy, chairman of the Times Mirror Co.'s executive committee, is a friend of the Ganzes, who are from Los Angeles.
"Purely by accident I ran across one man from Peru," said William Lorke, a research scholar at Dumbarton Oaks, to Murphy. "There we were eating sturgeon and salmon and discussing poor peasants in Peru. The contrast was quite striking."
Indeed, most of the mingling took place around the salmon and chateaubriand and liquor downstairs. "They did an interesting job of installing the food," said J. Carter Brown, director of the museum, about caterer Bill Holman. "They got so excited about how the Rodins looked on pedestals that they decided to put the food on pedestals."
Many bankers did wander through the exhibition. Like Brazilian Henrique Gregori. "You know, after you spend the whole day discussing financial matters on a world scale you want to enjoy the art," he said while browsing.