Washington’s Art World, 1920s

Photo: Sarah Osborne Bender

Chief Preparator Shelly Wischhusen and Librarian Karen Schneider install the latest exhibition of archival materials in the museum’s Reading Room, located just outside of the library. This selection of materials tells the story of Duncan Phillips’s activities in the 1920′s as part of the Washington art world. Through letters, photographs, and other documents, Karen’s exhibition explores Phillips and his sphere of influence and inspiration, which included fellow collectors such as Charles Lang Freer and institutions like the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

Phillips Flashback: February 1963

Entrance to the 1960 annex with Giacometti exhibition, 1963. Photo from Phillips Collection Archives.

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.