The Artist Sees Differently: Champneys Taylor

CHAMPNEYS TAYLOR, control room operator

Champ Taylor taking a break from the basement control room in the sculpture courtyard. Photo: Claire Norman

How did you learn about the Phillips?
I first visited the Phillips in the mid-1990’s as a tourist from Kansas City, which is where I was living at the time. However, it was after I moved to Washington and began working at the Phillips that I really started to learn about the museum. As a Museum Assistant I enjoyed the fact that being in the galleries for long periods of time encouraged me to reconsider my first impressions of the works. Often I would leave at the end of my workday with greatly revised opinions about works I had spent so much time with.
Do you feel you are inspired by the Phillips art?
Ferdinand-Victor-Eugène Delacroix’s Horses Coming Out of the Sea is coloristic and luminous. It is classical and wants to be taken seriously on the basis of its poetics. Paul Cézanne’s Garden at Les Lauves features at least three distinctive horizons, giving it a temporal quality which is heightened by its ‘unfinished’ appearance. By contrast Oscar Bluemner’s Oranges is utterly groundless (and would be at home in any number of contemporary art spaces). Here I should mention that I once had the privilege (with Preparator Bill Koberg presiding) of resting this small painting on the five fingertips of my left hand. Continue reading “The Artist Sees Differently: Champneys Taylor” »

Nicolò Paganini—The Marilyn Manson of Violin?

Ferdinand-Victor-Eugène Delacroix. Paganini, 1831. Oil on cardboard on wood panel; 17 5/8 x 11 7/8 in. The Phillips Collection

Paganini (who died on this day 171 years ago) was a macabre man with supernatural abilities, or at least that’s what he’d like you to think! Apparently, he played the violin so well, people thought he had made a deal with the devil. His dark reputation and astonishing skills left people flocking to his concerts, among them the painter Ferdinand-Victor-Eugène Delacroix who attended Paganini’s Paris debut at the Opéra in 1831. Shortly thereafter, Delacroix created the portrait of Paganini in The Phillips Collection. I love talking about this painting on tours, and I love comparing it to another portrait of Paganini by Delacroix’s contemporary Jean-Auguste-Dominque Ingres. I think the two different takes are staggering!