An Intimate Exchange

Each week for the duration of the exhibition, we’ll focus on one work of art from Renoir and Friends: Luncheon of the Boating Party, on view October 7, 2017-January 7, 2018.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Boating Couple, 1880–81

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Boating Couple (Les Canotiers), 1880–81. Pastel on paper, 17 3/4 × 23 in. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Given in memory of Governor Alvan T. Fuller by the Fuller Foundation

The young woman in this exceptional pastel drawing wears a ring on her third finger and holds a bouquet of violets. She gazes into her partner’s eyes and is clearly the object of his affection. This intimate pair is thought to represent Renoir with Aline Charigot, his future wife. During the summer of 1880 the couple spent an increasing amount of time together. This artwork is one of quite a few from this moment in Renoir’s career in which he may reference himself as the male protagonist engaged in an intimate exchange with a young woman generally assumed to be Charigot. Her straw hat, with a silk flower embellishing the ribbon, looks similar to the one worn by Charigot in Luncheon of the Boating Party, whereas he appears to be wearing the jacket donned by writer and critic Adrien Maggiolo in the painting.

Volunteer Spotlight: Mallory Verez

In this series, Education Specialist Emily Bray profiles volunteers within the museum. Phillips volunteers are an integral part of the museum and help in many ways: greeting and guiding guests through the museum, helping with Sunday Concerts, assisting patrons in the library, helping out with Phillips after 5 and special events, and so much more. Our volunteers offer a wealth of expertise and experience to the museum, and we are delighted to highlight several them.

Mallory Verez, Art Information Volunteer

Mallory Verez

What year did you start volunteering at The Phillips Collection?

I started volunteering in June 2017.


What do you see as the most valuable aspect of your volunteering?

I want each visitor to be able to leave with something, be that a newfound appreciation or knowledge. Sharing the history of The Phillips Collection and leading visitors to pieces they might like is so exciting. My favorite part is when visitors share their perspectives and understanding with me in return.

What do you do when you are not volunteering at The Phillips Collection?

I’m a full time undergraduate student, studying psychology, and an intern at Joy of Motion Dance Center, a non-profit organization devoted to making dance education and performance available to everyone. Being a part of that organization has been nothing short of incredible.

What is your favorite room or painting here?

My favorite room is easily the Rothko room; I feel like I could spend hours in there. My favorite pieces right now are any by Willem De Kooning.

If you had to choose one word to describe the Phillips, what would it be?


Share a fun fact about you!

I recently got a shepherd-husky mix puppy, an absolute treasure, whom I named Mojo. She enjoys invading personal space and looking at herself in the mirror.


Is there anything else you would like to share?

I am eternally grateful to The Phillips Collection for letting me spend time engaging with visitors and the art, and for opening my eyes to the possibility of a future in museum work.

Staff Show 2017: Emily N. Rader

In this series, Manager of Visitor and Family Engagement Emily Bray highlights participants in the 2017 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show, on view through September 17, 2017.

Emily Rader, Double Take

Emily Rader

What do you do at The Phillips Collection? Are there any unique or interesting parts about your job that most people might not know about?

I’m a Museum Assistant. When I first got the job, I was told it was 80% museum guard, 20% docent. This job requires spending your typical workday (8 hours) guarding a particular gallery space. It’s one of the best jobs any person in the arts can get coming out of college. You get a worm’s eye view of how art viewing works. You learn the audience’s knowledge levels, entry point to art, behavior patterns, values; and also, the way art is and behaves when it is placed outside of the studio and the history books.

Who is your favorite artist in the collection?

Honoré Daumier, Raoul Dufy, Joan Mitchell, William Christenberry, and Sarah Baker.

What is your favorite space within The Phillips Collection?

The Laib Wax Room is one of my favorite permanent installations, but I always look forward to seeing how the collection is rehung to see what “conversations” the works might have.

What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2017 Staff Show (or your work in general)?

Instant film cameras typically produce a single, one-off image, unlike most photographic processes; there is no difference between taking the picture and producing the print. Instant photography presents an interesting challenge. The closest relative of this variety of camera is the pinhole camera. These cameras lack the control methods that many photographers are used to. The instant camera, and the pinhole camera, require a much greater attention to light, movement, and composition.

Artist’s statement:

Engagement is very important to Art, after all, Art does not exist without being framed and acknowledged as such by the Viewer. Titles are very important to my work as they give the Viewer an entrance to the work, something they can grasp. This isn’t to say the title should tell the Viewer everything, but it should give the Viewer the ability to meet the Artist halfway. The other aspects of Art can also be read in a similar way to the title, and provide a similar entryway or conversation between. Art is not only communication or dialogue with the Artist but also the time it was created in, and the contemporary Viewer.


The 2017 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show is on view August 3 through September 17, 2017.