Creative Looking with Henri le Sidaner

Sidaner_the serenade venice

Installation view: Henri Le Sidaner, The Serenade, Venice, 1907. Oil on canvas, 53 x 72 1/4 in. Paul G. Allen Family Collection

Marketing Intern Olivia Bensimon spent some time with Henri Le Sidaner’s The Serenade, Venice (1907), on view in Seeing Nature, recording her thoughts and reactions:

We left the banks along with the others. Each of us climbed, one by one, onto the gondolas and followed the lights. Although it was early summer, the nights were still cold. From the boats we could still see the banks of the Great Canal, the streets lit up with gas lights. Silence reigned; the only sound was the water gently beating against the hulls of the boats. We stopped and waited. Was it finally time?

Across from us, in front of the Basilica, stood a group men holding onto objects. We waited. Time seemed slow. Eternity passed before we heard a faint echo of sounds, the vibration of the strings into the body of the violin. The rest of the orchestra followed, and Venice came alive with the sound of music.

The landscapes on view in Seeing Nature can inspire any number of different emotions and reactions. Does one of the works from the exhibition stand out to you? Take a stab at your own freewriting exercise in response! Let your pen take the lead and send us the result at for a chance to win a Phillips gift bag. We’ll feature our favorite submissions here on the blog. Here’s a previous example in response to Milton Avery‘s Dancing Trees.

Olivia Bensimon, Marketing & Communications Intern

Happy Birthday Charles Sheeler!


Charles Sheeler, Skyscrapers, 1922. Oil on canvas, 20 x 13 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1926

Born this day in 1883 was American artist Charles Sheeler. His work Syscrapers, on view in Made in the USA, was the first painting by the artist to enter a museum collection. It is one of Sheeler’s most accomplished assimilations of European modernism into a uniquely American style know today as precisionism. Sheeler elicited beauty from the stark reality of New York office buildings and the utilitarian aspects of industrial America.