This past weekend, my family and I decided to go on a little getaway to Philadelphia specifically to see the newly revamped Barnes Foundation. The Barnes is one of several major art galleries like MoMA, Detroit Institute of the Arts, the National Gallery of Art and The Phillips Collection celebrating Ellsworth Kelly’s 90th birthday by hosting exhibitions of his work.
Given the current political uprisings in Egypt, this week’s Spotlight Talk on Honoré Daumier’s The Uprising seemed eerily timely. The talk, led by Paul Ruther, Manager of Teacher Programs, focused on the timelessness of the work’s subject matter, what Duncan Phillips described as a “symbol of pent up human indignation.”
It is always fun to hear the stories behind a work of art, giving an otherwise unknown perspective on the painting. Duncan Phillips wanted to show “art beyond ‘isms,’” and I found it interesting that while he was not keen on surrealism, he acquired Joan Miró’s The Red Sun on the grounds that it fit in with the rest of his collection.