French painter Pierre Bonnard visited The Phillips Collection in 1926 after serving on the jury of the Carnegie International, an art exhibition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. On the train to Washington, Bonnard was so fascinated by the architecture of a club sandwich that he made a sketch of it.
During his visit to the Phillips, Bonnard asked Marjorie Phillips, an artist in her own right, to lend him some paints and brushes so he could “improve” a section of his painting Early Spring. Marjorie Phillips, fearing the worst, fibbed and told Bonnard that all of her paints and brushes were in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania, where she went to work during the summer months.
Duncan Phillips asked Bonnard to look at half a dozen of Marjorie Phillips’s paintings. Bonnard suggested, “draw more” and “get the character.” Following his return to France, Bonnard wrote to the Phillipses, “I still work despite my age. I imagine Mrs. Duncan Phillips continues to paint as sensitively as in the paintings I saw on my American trip.”