American Acrostics: Marjorie Phillips

Marjorie Phillips_Night Baseball

Marjorie Phillips, Night Baseball, 1951. Oil on canvas, 24 1/4 x 36 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Gift of the artist, 1951 or 1952

To celebrate the last month of Made in the USA, we’ve asked Phillips staff to create acrostic poems for works in the exhibition. We’ll feature some of our favorite submissions over the next few weeks.

Marjorie Phillips, Night Baseball

Unveiling a game changer
Senators Baseball club
All-American pastime

 

Lydia O’Connor, Senior Finance Assistant

Giacometti at the Phillips, 1963

Vesna Pavlović’s Intersections work, Illuminated Archive (on view through September 28th), uses imagery from our 1963 exhibition Giacometti. That exhibition was years in the making and required many loans of large sculptural pieces which can be difficult to manage. Planned while Duncan Phillips was in his late 70s, his wife Marjorie played an active role in the securing of loans, writing many letters to museums as well as prominent collectors such as William and Babe Paley and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr. Assisting with locating works in both public and private collections, the Pierre Matisse Gallery provided Marjorie Phillips with the lists below, which were thoroughly annotated as the exhibition planning proceeded.

Works by Albert Giacometti in public and private collections as listed by Pierre Matisse Gallery for the Phillips Collection.  The Phillips Collection Archives, Washington DC.

Works by Alberto Giacometti in public and private collections as listed by Pierre Matisse Gallery for The Phillips Collection. The Phillips Collection Archives, Washington, DC.

The result was a beautiful and popular show. The Phillipses remarked that they were so pleased, they wished it could remain as a permanent part of the museum.

Giacometti exhibition, 1963. The Phillips Collection Archives, Washington DC.

Giacometti exhibition, 1963. The Phillips Collection Archives, Washington, DC.

Giacometti exhibition, 1963. The Phillips Collection Archives, Washington DC.

Giacometti exhibition, 1963. The Phillips Collection Archives, Washington, DC.

 

A Closer Look at Color

Color Studio Matisse

Henri Matisse, Interior with Egyptian Curtain, 1948. Oil on canvas, 45 3/4 x 35 1/8 in. Acquired 1950. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC (Right) Raoul Dufy, The Opera, Paris, early 1930s. Gouache on paper, 19 3/4 x 25 1/4 in. Acquired 1939. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

Last Wednesday, I got the chance to attend a Spotlight Talk on Henri Matisse’s Studio, Quai Saint Michel, where we discussed the artist’s characteristic use of Fauvist color to define space. At first these color choices coupled with the skewed perspective can feel a bit aggressive (or in the words of a young Duncan Phillips, “unworthy of the mere ignorance of children and savages”), but after spending some time viewing the painting in person, I started to recognize the frenetic colors for the way they represent the experience of inhabiting the space; the light purple shadow cast by the curtain, vibrant red fabric that frames the reclining model, and rhythmic teal highlights on the walls throughout the room are in essence abstract gestures, but somehow they come together to create a vivid environment.

As I browsed the collection afterwards, I found myself recognizing the way other artists structure their color choices to manipulate the viewers’ perception of subject and space; Georgia O’Keeffe’s somber My Shanty, Lake George, Edouard Vuillard’s intimately composed Woman Sweeping, and Raoul Dufy’s intricate The Opera, Paris. Even works that are purely abstract seem relevant; Piet Mondrian’s Painting No. 9 uses primary color to visually dissect our three-dimensional world, while Mark Rothko’s Green and Maroon uses chromatic fields to envelop the viewer in atmospheric color.

Elaine Budzinski, Marketing Intern