Fashion a la Renoir

We asked guests who attended the Fashion a la Renoir Phillips after 5 earlier this month to dress in their vintage best, and we snapped photos of some of the standouts! Thanks to all who came. Catch the next Phillips after 5 on December 7.

Cam Dang and Monica Kohli

Jessica Eddy

Lori Crandall

Michelle Dietch and Crystal Pierre

Volunteer Spotlight: Jenna Chen

In this series, Manager of Visitor and Family Engagement 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.

Jenna Chen, Art Information Volunteer

Jenna Chen

What year did you start volunteering for The Phillips Collection?

I started volunteering the summer of 2017.


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

My favorite part of interacting with visitors is seeing how eager they are to share their previous experiences at art museums and the reasons why they are at the Phillips. Seeing how excited first time visitors are to stand in front of Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party enhances my volunteer experience. Volunteering at the Phillips is a wonderful opportunity to surround myself with art lovers.


What do you do when you are not volunteering at the Phillips?

As a biology and art history student at Georgetown University, I spend a decent amount of time in the library preparing for class. During my free time, I enjoy hiking and exploring DC with friends.


What is your favorite room or painting here?

My favorite painting here is Succession by Wassily Kandinsky. I just read Kandinsky’s book Concerning the Spiritual in Art, so I now understand his abstract art on a new level. I am still puzzled, yet fascinated by Succession. There is not a time that I walked by the painting without stopping to stare at it.


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



Share a fun fact about you!

Last semester, I studied abroad in London and took full advantage of the city’s free museums. I constantly lost track of time when wandering through the National Gallery, V&A, Wallace Collection, and Tate Modern. As an extroverted person, I found it surprising how comfortable I felt alone in these museums. I actually strongly prefer to visit art museums without others, and those are the only places where I like to be by myself.


Is there anything else that you would like to share?

Volunteering at The Phillips Collection confirmed that I am happiest when surrounded by art. I am now even more determined to pursue a career in art museums!

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.