Group Hug

Painting by Nicolas de Stael

Nicolas de Stael, Musicians, 1953. Oil on canvas, 63 7/8 x 45 in. Acquired 1953. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

My instant answer to “what’s your favorite piece at the Phillips?” (which is often one of the first questions asked after people learn that I work at an art museum), is always Nicolas de Stael’s The Musicians (1953). When I first laid eyes on it a few weeks after starting an internship at the Phillips in 2008, I saw a group of figures involved in a group hug. This immediate association, along with the bright colors, made the lasting impression on me that this painting would always be something I can turn to for a quick dose of Happy. Even after reading the title and learning that the figures are likely meant to represent a band or musical ensemble, I’ll still always see a family embracing.

Amy Wike, Publicity & Marketing Coordinator

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