Ryder and Dove: Spiritual Ancestors

Arthur G. Dove, Golden Storm, 1925. Oil and metallic paint on plywood panel, 18 9/16 x 20 1/2 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1926

Golden Storm was painted on Arthur dove’s boat in Huntington Harbor, Long Island, and is one of the earliest Dove paintings to enter The Phillips Collection. It represents Dove at the beginning of his mature style. The small scale of the work, the result of limited working space, does not detract from the immense power of the painting, capturing the movement of the water and freezing it into abstract, timeless patterns. This work, in its successful evocation of the inner vitality of nature, constitutes the culmination of formative influences in Dove’s development, including trends in European modernist art, especially Wassily Kandinsky’s notion of spirituality.

Albert Pinkham Ryder, Moonlit Cove, 1880s. Oil on canvas, 14 1/8 x 17 1/8 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1924

Duncan Phillips’s acquisition of Golden Storm in 1926 represented a breakthrough for the collector in his growing acceptance of abstract form and expressive color as evocations of nature’s underlying dynamism. He admired Golden Storm as a “symphonic tone-poem on earth shapes whirled in the maelstrom.” He compared the painting to the art of Albert Pinkham Ryder, whom he considered Dove’s “spiritual ancestor,” not only in his reduction of nature’s forms to their purest elements, but also in his experimental techniques and choice of medium. Phillips also recognized a spiritual element in this early work of Dove’s in stating, “When there is a hint of great things going on in the mind of the artist and of his consciousness of the rhythm of the universe, abstract art ceases to be an amusement for the aesthete and becomes a divine activity.”

Staff Show 2017: Ann Lipscombe

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.

Ann Lipscombe, Pure Looking At (2017)

Ann Lipscombe

Ann Lipscombe

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 the Digital Associate! I do a lot of videography and graphic design, but my job mostly consists of producing motion graphics for our social media.

Who is your favorite artist in the collection?

Piet Mondrian, Phillip Guston and Alex Katz.

What is your favorite space within The Phillips Collection?

My favorite spot in the Phillips is the main stairway in the museum. I think the curators are always really clever with what they do in such a tiny and often overlooked space. Sometimes they have our small works by Calder there, which is my favorite spot for them.

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

My work is exploring the relationship between Western and alternative medicine. The drawing itself conflates medical and natural imagery to form an almost ouroboros shape. I’m encouraging the piece to be interpreted through the Hegelian Method, which is referenced in the title of the work.

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

A Day at the Beach with Prendergast

Maurice Prendergast, Revere Beach No. 2, between 1917 and 1918. Watercolor on paper, 13 1/2 x 19 1/2 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC. Gift of Mrs. Charles Prendergast in memory of Duncan and Marjorie Phillips, 1991.

This watercolor by Maurice Prendergast captures the colors and bustle of a summer day at Revere Beach, just five miles north of Boston. Its hard sand shore forms a great crescent for four miles along the blue ocean, sloping away gradually out to sea and creating an ideal bathing beach. The Nahant and Winthrop peninsulas frame the horizon at Revere Beach, which faces Massachusetts Bay. An ad in a 1912 booklet advertising Revere Beach described unsurpassed scenic panoramas viewed from the beach by day or night. From the time it opened to the public in 1896, Revere Beach entertained visitors from all over the world each year from Easter until Labor Day. In the early years they walked, bicycled, or took horse-drawn carriages. It was the place to go to be entertained, have fun or just relax and enjoy a day at the beach.