Attendees at National Museum of Women in the Arts' gala and fundraiser visit the exhibit by Ursula von Rydingsvard on Friday. (Doug Kapustin for The Washington Post)

Guests attending the National Museum of Women in the Arts spring gala got a special treat on Friday: impromptu exhibit tours by the night’s honoree, artist Ursula von Rydingsvard.

“Such a thrill,” said Maureen Chelius, who recently procured one of von Rydingsvard’s smaller sculptures, of the tour through a retrospective of her large-scale sculptures.

The abstract artist received the museum’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the Arts and the celebration did not disappoint. More than 400 guests from Washington’s social, governmental and diplomatic communities spent the night mingling, dining and dancing in the museum’s ornate Great Hall.


Ursula von Rydingsvard, front left, gives a tour of her new exhibit. (Doug Kapustin for The Washington Post)

Attendees pack the galleries of the National Museum of Women in the Arts on Friday during a cocktail reception. (Doug Kapustin for The Washington Post)

Von Rydingsvard, left, greets Susan Talbott, executive director of Philadelphia's Fabric Workshop and Museum. (Doug Kapustin for The Washington Post)

From left, Sanjeed Aggarwal, Damir Fazlic and Bela Aggarwal enjoy the cocktail reception. (Doug Kapustin for The Washington Post)

Fariba Jahanbani, left, and Shannon Yang view some of the art on display. (Doug Kapustin for The Washington Post)