On May 28, 1950, a show by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, little known in the United States, opens at the Phillips Gallery. The show features 171 oil paintings and the catalogue is the first substantial English publication on the artist.
As the Titanic meets its horrific fate in the waters of the North Atlantic on Monday, April 15, 1912, Duncan Phillips is aboard another ship in the ocean, nearing its destination of Antwerp. Of the event, he writes in his journal:
We were in communication with several ships- but never heard or were told of the disaster to the Titanic. It was not until we got to the Hotel San Antoine in Antwerp that we heard that the largest & most luxurious vessel afloat had gone down with over a thousand human lives, some of them known to us personally and many by reputation. The accident occurred on Sunday after we had left Plymouth. When we were near the banks of Newfoundland we commented on the cold & penetrating dampness, but never sighted nor heard news of any icebergs around. The Titanic however was taking a northerly course trying to make fast time on her trial trip. We disembarked our English passengers at Plymouth instead of Dover on Sunday morning. We passed Dover towards evening, and landed at Antwerp Tuesday April 16th at 2 p.m. having had to wait for the tide.
At the bottom of this entry, he lists a few of the casualties known to him at the time.
Among the dead
J.J. Astor – Wm Stead – Archie Butte – Clarence Moore – Widener – Isidor Straus
Captain Smith who was in command of the Olympic when we returned on her last summer
Giacometti opens on February 7, 1963, comprising 37 sculptures. From this show, Monumental Head (1960) is purchased for the collection. In his introduction to the catalogue, Duncan Phillips writes of Alberto Giacometti:
Out of all this creative exploration there emerges one constant – one single ‘artistic personality’ – Berenson’s sine qua non. It is to be found in [Giacometti’s] every period. It is the image of a human being, miniature or massive, the image of a lonely estranged presence beyond specific description.