Looking Outside the Frame

de stael_bench

The colors of Nicolas de Staël’s Le Parc de Sceaux are echoed in a neighboring bench. Photo: Elaine Budzinski

Some of my favorite works to view at the Phillips are those that are strongly influenced by the spaces they occupy. A small, inconspicuous alcove next to an elevator displays works by Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, and Kenneth Noland, while El Greco’s The Repentant St. Peter is framed by wood paneling in a dim corner of the Music Room. The heavy perfume of the Laib Wax Room wafts beyond its small chamber into the bright gallery that houses Pierre Bonnard‘s The Open Window; and the upholstered seats that frame a particular window in another gallery echo the blue gray palette of Nicolas de Staël’s Le Parc de Sceaux. These relationships remind me that although sometimes we see paintings and sculptures as aesthetic objects in the context of a white-walled gallery space, they are also artifacts of individual thought processes and ideas.

Elaine Budzinski, Marketing and Communications Intern

Congenial Spirits: Seeing Double

(Left) Frank Stella, Marriage of Reason and Squalor, 1967 Right) Aimé Mpane, Mapasa (Twins), 2012.

A view in the house: (Left) Frank Stella, Marriage of Reason and Squalor, 1967. Print on paper, 14 7/8 x 21 3/4 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Gift of Richard Madlener, 1991. (Right) Aimé Mpane, Mapasa (Twins), 2012. Acrylic and mixed media on two wooden panels, each panel: 12 1/2 in x 12 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Acquired with The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Award, 2012. Photos: Sarah Osborne Bender

Congenial Spirits: Inseparable

Alexander Calder standing mobile, Untitled, 1948

Alexander Calder, Untitled, 1948. Painted sheet metal and wire; 26 x 26 x 5 1/2 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Gift from the estate of Katherine S. Dreier, 1953.

We blogged last July when friends Alexander Calder and Joan Miró appeared along our spiral staircase, and now they’re back! But this time, the pairing includes Calder’s 1948 Untitled standing mobile, one I haven’t seen in person before. It’s a delightful and delicate discovery as one rounds the stairs to the second floor of the Goh Annex.