(b)logs for the Fire: Part 1

Part of what makes The Phillips Collection unique is that the art on the walls is always rotating. But it is also important to note that some of the residents of the collection do have permanent homes. So permanent, in fact, that they were built right into the walls. Many visitors are perhaps familiar with the ornate and beautiful detailing of the Music Room fire place, but sprinkled throughout the gallery are several others—each with their own unique details, styles, and character. Here a just a few examples of what can emerge if you look closer.

baby detail

This little guy is a permanent resident of the West Parlor. What have those little baby eyes seen through the years?

fleur de lis detail

The repeating fleur de lis-style pattern on these bricks lies underneath a glassy, cracked glaze. From certain angles, you can barely make out the design at all.

Swirl detail

Hidden swirls and circles everywhere! This fireplace has a decorative wrought-iron detail and a textured fireplace interior wall.

Check back tomorrow for more fireplace details.

Emily Hurwitz, Marketing and Communications Intern

Spotlight on The Open Window

Pierre Bonnard, The Open Window, 1921. Oil on canvas, 46 1/2 x 37 3/4 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Acquired 1930

Pierre Bonnard, The Open Window, 1921. Oil on canvas, 46 1/2 x 37 3/4 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Acquired 1930

A couple of days ago,  I attended a spotlight talk focused on one of my favorite paintings in the Collection: Pierre Bonnard’s The Open Window (1921). We began with a quiet reflection on the painting, after which Phillips Librarian Karen Schneider guided our group to an understanding of the subject matter, palette, and structural lines of the work.

Examining the painting, the viewer is drawn first to the scene out the window–the serenity of the lush green trees and fading blue sky of the world outside. Then we observe the hard lines of the window frame and the bright, warm colors of the interior setting. Last, we notice a woman sitting, perhaps sleeping, in the bottom right hand corner, blurred and barely discernible. I almost didn’t notice her at all. This was in fact the artist’s intent, I learned. With contrasting hues and structural lines, Bonnard is recreating the experience of going out into the bright light and then coming back inside. We are caught in the moment when vision is temporarily impaired, and we only catch the outline of a form out of the corner of our eye. The outside is still beckoning.

Did you know that Pierre Bonnard actually visited The Phillips Collection in 1926? After complementing Marjorie Phillips on her paintings, he asked to borrow a brush so he could touch up one of his works in the Collection. Fortunately, she said she didn’t have one with her and convinced him not to alter the work!

Jane Clifford, Marketing Intern