A Very Young Dancer at Family Fun Days

This is the second in a series of posts by Phillips Educator Rachel Goldberg about this year’s attendance record-breaking annual free family festival. Read the first installment here.

En route to the Degas with Sophia. Photo: James R. Brantley

En route to the Degas with Sophia. Photo: James R. Brantley

On Saturday, June 2, the first day of Jazz ‘n Families Fun Days, my two and half-year old friend (niece-by-choice) Sophia came to participate in the fun at the museum. All of a sudden and completely out of nowhere about six months ago, Sophia became fascinated with ballet. Her parents first course of action was to enroll her in classes. My first course of action was to take her to the National Gallery of Art to visit the Degas sculptures of the Little Dancer. Sophia wore her pink tutu and ballet shoes for the occasion and danced around the sculptures. She has since become obsessed (seriously, she reads it at least three times a day) with this book, so I wasn’t at all surprised when I asked her what she wanted to do at the museum and she replied, “I want to see the Degas.” Two Degas paintings are currently hanging on the second floor of the Goh Annex, and Sophia dragged me up the stairs and oooohhed and ahhhed at both of them. She even asked me to pick her up (quite unusual for this very independent child) so she could see them more closely.

Rachel Goldberg, Manager of School, Outreach, and Family Programs

The Artist Sees Differently: Caroline Hoover

Caroline Hoover helping out in the Phillips’ Conservation studio. Photo: Joshua Navarro

Caroline Hoover, Museum Assistant, Conservation Intern

How did you learn about the Phillips?

I learned about the Phillips because my great aunt [Elizabeth Turner] used to be a curator here. At the time, we came up to see her shows and visit the Phillips.

Do you feel you are inspired by the Phillips art?

I would say that I’m inspired by the Phillips art; there is a lot to take from the works in terms of formal technique in a lot of the older impressionist works and creativity and innovation found in the new works by contemporary artists.

What do you listen to as you create?

I always listen to music when I am painting, but honestly it depends on the mood I’m in, and I usually switch genres a few times before I’m satisfied.

Who’s your favorite artist in the collection?

Edgar Degas

What painting in the collection do you wish you’d painted?

Pierre Bonnard’s The Riviera

Do you collect other artwork – or anything?

When I studied abroad in Europe and Africa, I collected artwork from a lot of the countries I visited. A lot of it was street artwork, but also some from galleries. I usually collect at least a postcard of works that I especially like in other collections/museums.

And do you have a favorite Marjorie Phillips painting?

To be honest, the only one that I’ve seen is Night Baseball. But, I do like that one a lot.

Caroline Hoover, "Untitled," oil on canvas, 3' x 4'

Caroline Hoover, “Untitled,” oil on canvas, 3′ x 4′

-Rolf Rykken


Curtain Call: Final Day for Degas

Today we wish a fond farewell to Degas’s Dancers: Point and Counterpoint and bring you one final painting by the artist. The Phillips is open 11 am-6 pm today for all who wish to catch one last glimpse in person.

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, Dancers at the Barre, c. 1900, Charcoal and pastel on tracing paper, laid down on cardboard, 43 3/4 x 38 7/8 in. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Purchased 1921.