As part of last week’s Jazz ‘n Families Fun Days festivities, I led a tour of the permanent collection using poetry as a theme. Our first stop: Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party. After looking and discussing the work for a few minutes, I shared the following Shel Silverstein poem with the group, asking them to repeat each line out loud as I read. This ‘call and response’ method allowed everyone to feel the rhythm and rhyme of the poem:
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Luncheon of the Boating Party, between 1880 and 1881. Oil on canvas, 51 1/4 x 69 1/8 in. Acquired 1923. The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C.
We’re Out of Paint, So . . .
Let’s paint a picture with our food.
For red we’ll squeeze these cherries.
For purple let’s splash grape juice on.
For blue we’ll use blueberries.
For black just use some licorice.
For brown pour on some gravy.
For yellow you can dip your brush
In the egg yolk you just gave me.
We’ll sign our names in applesauce
And title it “Our Luncheon,”
And hang it up for everyone
To stop . . . and see . . . and munch on.
How do you think this poem relates to Luncheon of the Boating Party? Choose a color that strikes you in the painting. Imagine you are out of paint. What food would you use to paint your chosen color and why? Share your choice in the comments!
Margaret Collerd, Public Programs and In-gallery Interpretation Coordinator
Head Librarian Karen Schneider with Raymond Machesney, displaying a photogravure plate by Alvin Langdon Coburn called Portrait of Miss R- . Photos: Sarah Osborne Bender
On the 131st anniversary of the birth of photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn, we in the library had the pleasure of a visit from collector and donor Raymond Machesney, who also might be Coburn’s biggest fan. (Take a look at the abundant gifts he has given to the Phillips, nearly all somehow related to Coburn.) As always, Raymond brought his infectious enthusiasm for this influential and sensitive photographer and guided us, along with curators Elsa Smithgall and Eliza Rathbone, on a journey through his latest gift: a first edition of The Artistic Side of Photography in theory and practice, from 1910, by A.J. Anderson. Coburn assisted Anderson in the selection of images for the book and this edition includes beautiful tipped-in photogravures by Coburn, Alfred Stieglitz, and Holland Day, among others.
(left to right) Elsa Smithgall, Eliza Rathbone, Karen Schneider, and Raymond Machesney in the library.
Raymond shows his inscribed copy of The Family of Man, purchased in D.C. in 1958.
And, though not a gift, just as delightful was seeing a small volume Raymond brought with him, a pocket-sized edition of the catalogue for The Family of Man. Raymond bought the book in 1958 on a summer study trip to Washington, D.C., while on break from his full time studies in Ohio at the College of Wooster. A political science major at the time, he found the book appealed to his social interests rather than any artistic sensibility. What else happened on that trip to Washington? Raymond paid his first visit to the Phillips. We are glad he did.
In honor of the great American photographer, born this day in 1882, his gelatin silver print The Great Temple, Grand Canyon (1911) is currently on view upstairs in the original Phillips house.
Alvin Langdon Coburn, The Great Temple, Grand Canyon, 1911. Gelatin silver print, 13 x 15 1/2 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Gift of the Phillips Contemporaries, 2006. Photo: Joshua Navarro