A Gallery of Color

The Phillips is home to radiant¬†works by the Washington Color School. Don’t miss the gallery featuring brilliant paintings by Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Gene Davis, and Thomas Downing, artist who frequented the museum and were inspired by the American Modernist and French Impressionist works in the galleries. Leo Villareal’s pulsating Scramble¬†offers a contemporary twist to the Color Field canvases.

Washington Color School gallery

Left to right: Grid 31 (1970) by Thomas Downing, April (1960) by Kenneth Noland, Seal (1959) by Morris Louis, Cycle (1960) by Kenneth Noland, Number 182 (1961) by Morris Louis, and Scramble (2011) by Leo Villareal

The Delicate Balance: Happy Valentine’s Day

Sam Gilliam_Red Petals

Sam Gilliam, Red Petals, 1967. Acrylic on canvas, 88 x 93 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1967

Read in the context of today’s holiday, the description of this piece on our website struck me as especially poignant:

“Red Petals is among the first paintings in which Gilliam poured paint onto an unprimed and unstretched canvas, folded the canvas onto itself, suspended it, and left the paint to settle overnight. The next day he sponged, daubed, splattered, folded, rolled, and then restretched the canvas. Gilliam describes this delicate balance between improvisation and discipline as ‘a sort of accident, a part that I controlled, and then a part that I didn’t control, a part that I set into motion.’ The emotional intensity and expressionistic force of Red Petals partly derives from this careful manipulation and the tension between chance and control.”

Amy Wike, Marketing Manager