Augustus Vincent Tack’s Legacy in the Music Room

Tack installed in Music Room 1

Works by Augustus Vincent Tack on view in the Music Room. Photo: Britta Galanis

Augustus Vincent Tack has a long history here at The Phillips Collection. Tack and Duncan Phillips met in 1914 at Yale University where Phillips fostered a deep appreciation for Tack’s work. This quickly became a friendship that would last for the rest of their lives. Phillips was a driving force for the showing of Tack’s work in many museums, while Tack contributed to the growth of Phillips’s collection. Eventually Phillips encouraged him to make the move to Washington, DC, where he would continue his career making portraits for politicians and high ranking officials such as Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Phillips commissioned Tack to make a collection of works specifically with the museum’s renowned Music Room in mind. Several of these works are currently hanging in their originally intended space at the Phillips. When walking into the room, I was immediately struck by how perfectly these works fit into the space. The Music Room, with its dark and rich walls, is instantly brightened by Tack’s works.

Tack installed in Music Room 2

Works by Augustus Vincent Tack on view in the Music Room. Photo: Britta Galanis

One of the works on display is Time and Timelessness (The Spirit of Creation), which was a preparatory sketch for the fire curtain at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium. These late works done by Tack show his experimentation with scale and mood. He experimented often with sponges and rollers on canvas, which gave his work a rather ancient and unfinished quality. Now is your chance to visit the Music Room and view it the way Duncan Phillips might have.

Britta Galanis, Marketing & Communications Intern

2 thoughts on “Augustus Vincent Tack’s Legacy in the Music Room

  1. Tack’s work looks splendid in the Music Room. Are there any photographs extant of the Tack installation as it looked around 1930 or before?
    Many thanks!

    • Hi Michael,
      Great question! I’m looking into this now and will let you know what I find.
      Best,
      Amy Wike, The Phillips Collection

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