A Wolf Trap Opera performer responds to Henri Matisse's Studio Quai Saint-Michel (1916) with Stephen Sondheim's I'm Losing My Mind (1971). Photo courtesy Wolf Trap Opera.
I was a classical cellist before falling in love with art history, and one of the things that I love about The Phillips Collection is the way art of all kinds is brought together in conversation. In this spirit, the Phillips is hosting singers from Wolf Trap’s bright and talented Filene Young Artists tomorrow at 6:30 pm. Vocal performances are paired with multimedia presentations of works from the Collection – some highlights include pairings of Schubert with Cézanne and Stephen Sondheim’s I’m losing my Mind with Studio Quai Saint-Michel by Matisse. The vocalists will perform in the Phillips’s lush, Victorian music room, where Duncan Phillips and his brother used to relax while they plunked out tunes on the grand piano, making plans for their budding art collection.
Check out some photos from Sunday’s rehearsal!
-Evelyn Gardett, Graduate Intern for Lectures and Programs
Paul Cézanne, Ginger Pot with Pomegranate and Pears, 1893. Oil on canvas. 18 1/4 x 21 7/8 in. The Phillips Collection
Artists and poets have a long history of creating mutually inspiring dialogues with one another. At the turn of the 20th century, the extraordinarily lyrical and intuitive Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke comes to mind, who by his own admission was very much influenced by the work of both Rodin and Cézanne. While in Paris in 1907 (the year after Cézanne’s death), Rilke wrote several letters to his wife Clara about visiting and experiencing the work of Cézanne. On October 9, he wrote, “he [Cézanne] lays his apples on bed covers… and places a wine bottle among them or whatever happens to be handy. And (like Van Gogh) he makes his “saints” out of such things; and forces them – forces them – to be beautiful, to stand for the whole world and all joy and all glory.”[i] It is in such description that art and poetry find their universally communicative language. How many people have visited the works on display at The Phillips Collection over the past 90 years and been so similarly moved and inspired?
Martín Paddack, Museum Shop Book Buyer
[i] Letters on Cézanne, Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Joel Agee, Fromm International Publishing Corporation, New York, 1985
Read the first installment in Martín’s series for National Poetry Month.