Artists and poets have a long history of creating mutually inspiring dialogues with one another. At the turn of the 20th century, the extraordinarily lyrical and intuitive Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke comes to mind, who by his own admission was very much influenced by the work of both Rodin and Cézanne. While in Paris in 1907 (the year after Cézanne’s death), Rilke wrote several letters to his wife Clara about visiting and experiencing the work of Cézanne. On October 9, he wrote, “he [Cézanne] lays his apples on bed covers… and places a wine bottle among them or whatever happens to be handy. And (like Van Gogh) he makes his “saints” out of such things; and forces them – forces them – to be beautiful, to stand for the whole world and all joy and all glory.”[i] It is in such description that art and poetry find their universally communicative language. How many people have visited the works on display at The Phillips Collection over the past 90 years and been so similarly moved and inspired?
Martín Paddack, Museum Shop Book Buyer