Collecting with Passion: Part 2


Photo: Courtesy Wendy Grossman

This article, written by collector Anita Reiner’s daughter, Renee Reiner, was first published by Christie’s in May 2014 and is reposted here in three parts in conjunction with the exhibition A Tribute To Anita Reiner, on view at the Phillips through Jan. 4, 2015. Read Part 1 here. We welcome others to share their own anecdotes about this legendary collector or contribute comments about the installation honoring her.


Anita’s friend Wendy wrote of her early years: “When a painting or a sculpture spoke to Anita, she embraced it. A serendipitous encounter at The Phillips Collection in the early years of her quest to learn about modern art was instrumental in shaping the open-minded attitude that ultimately guided her collecting philosophy. While looking inquisitively at the newly installed paintings by Mark Rothko in the early 1960s, she was approached by an elderly gentleman—as she told it—who asked her what she thought. To which she mumbled an indifferent reply. The man told her: ‘Young lady, you always have to meet new art half way.’ She never forgot those words. The man, she subsequently learned, was Duncan Phillips.”

It was in 1967 that Anita purchased her first piece of art. It came from Leo Castelli and cost $540. (She asked for, and received, a 10% discount off of the $600 price.) It was Andy Warhol’s Black on Black self-portrait. We—Anita’s four children—still love this piece and intend to rotate it from house to house in future years.

A few years later, on one of her New York visits, Anita stopped a man on the street and asked, “Did you just have your portrait painted?” When he said yes, she returned to the Bykert Gallery where she had been watching Chuck Close paint Nat, his father-in-law, and purchased this painting while the paint was still wet. Just a few years ago, Mom was thrilled to be able to gift this piece to the National Gallery of Art.

Other artists that became part of Anita’s early collection included Larry Bell, Robert Rauschenberg, Jim Dine, John Salt, Don Eddy, Claes Oldenburg, Duane Hanson, Kenneth Nolan, and Ralph Goings. Says friend Steve, “Her collection was a side effect of her passion. She had a good, confident eye. She knew what moved her. Her taste was amazing.” Anita was never afraid of challenging art: quite the opposite, actually. “She wasn’t afraid to buy tough work,” says Steve.

Renee Reiner

Reiner reception_generations_Wendy Grossman

Three generations from the Reiner family gather at a reception honoring Anita at the Phillips last week.

Bernardi Roig’s Night Lights

There’s one good thing about the days getting shorter: there’s more time to enjoy Bernardi Roig’s sculptures in all of their illuminated glory. Beautiful as they are during the day, Intersections artist Roig‘s works comprised of white plaster figures and fluorescent lights are especially captivating at night. Here’s a look at the works after the sun has gone down.

Roig at night_white cage

Bernardi Roig, White Cage, 2014. Iron and fluorescent light, 106 1/4 x 47 1/4 x 11 7/8 in. Courtesy Kewenig Gallery, Berlin/Palma de Mallorca. Image courtesy the artist

Roig at night_acteon

Bernardi Roig, Acteón, 2005. Polyester resin, marble dust and fluorescent lights. Figure life size. Courtesy Max Estrella Gallery, Madrid. Image courtesy the artist.

Roig at night_herr mauroner

Bernardi Roig, Herr Mauroner, 2008. Polyester resin, marble dust and fluorescent lights. Figure life size. Courtesy MAM Mario Maroner Contemporary, Vienna. Image courtesy the artist.

Roig at night_blinky p

Bernardi Roig, An illuminated head for Blinky P. (The Gun), 2010. Polyester resin, marble dust and fluorescent light. Figure life size. Courtesy Galerie Klüser, Munich. Image courtesy the artist.

The Choreographer’s Process: Dance and the Dream of Realities, Part 3

In this series of guest posts, Jason Garcia Ignacio, one of CityDance’s 2014–2015 OnStage Ignite Artists, talks about artwork that inspired him for the Dance and the Dream of Realities performance at the Phillips on Nov. 20. Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here

signac_place des lice

Paul Signac, Place des Lices, Saint-Tropez, Opus 242, 1893. Oil on canvas, 25 3/4 x 32 1/4 in. Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. Acquired through the generosity of the Sarah Mellon Scaife Family. Photograph © 2014 Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh

Paul Signac, Place des Lices, Saint-Tropez, Opus 242 (1893)
In a painting filled with trees, I am most drawn to the person sitting alone on a bench. I want to explore this person’s solitude. In today’s society, where time alone is a luxury, what drives a person to isolate himself?

Cross_The Swan

Henri-Edmond Cross, The Swan, 1893. Oil on canvas, 18 x 10 5/8 in. Private collection, France, Courtesy Galerie de la Présidence, Paris

Henri-Edmond Cross, The Swan (1893)
I can’t help but think how excited this little girl must be as she observes the swan. One of my favorite Filipino folk dances is called “Itik-Itik”—which translates to duck. Though the dance is inspired by the movement of the duck, its endearing quality is a perfect match for ‘The Swan’. I want the audience to feel as the little girl does as she encounters this beautiful creature—bemused and enchanted.

Jason Garcia Ignacio, one of CityDance’s 2014–2015 OnStage Ignite Artists