As my colleague Brooke has discovered in her exploration of the Phillips in pop culture, once you start looking for it, you can find the Phillips in the most unlikely places. For example, this “installation” in the windowsill of an estate sale off of Connecticut Ave. Both St. Peter masterpieces could have been mine!
This is the first installment of our Museum and Memory series for International Museum Day.
My previous job was doing IT Support for a pharmaceutical testing company. They would run clinical trials on rats, monkeys, dogs, etc. It was standard procedure to “garb up” before going into the lab rooms to retrieve PCs and equipment covered in . . . organic material. Eventually (and thankfully), the contract expired and I was let go. My wife told me straight up, “Now is the time to decide what you really want to do! Most people don’t have that luxury!” Within five minutes, I told her, “I want to work in a museum.”
I will always remember the St. Peter by El Greco because I saw it for the first time waiting for my interview here at the Phillips. I kept thinking, “Please, please, please let me work here!” I could not have dreamed of a more perfect fit for an occupation, since my degree was from the University of Maryland College Park in Art Studio.
Last August, while in Spain with my family, we planned a day trip to Toledo, probably about 40 minutes from Madrid. After walking around the city for a bit, we stopped into the House of El Greco (it’s air conditioned), and I was pleasantly stunned to see a second version of The Repentant St. Peter that we have right here at the Phillips! Immediately I exclaimed to my family, “We have THIS painting in our museum!!” I will admit, our setting in D.C. is a bit more inviting, but the air conditioning was very welcome.
Sandy Lee, IT Support Specialist
MARTIN PADDACK, museum shop book buyer
How did you learn about the Phillips?
When I came to the United States as a 10 year old, The Phillips Collection (and the National Gallery of Art) were my very first experiences at art museums. My father took me to the Phillips, and I remember sitting with him in the low light of the Rothko Room and having him tell me to simply look and let my eyes adjust to the color. We sat there for a long time. It was a moment that carried me into another world, that within it held both the memory of where I had just come from (South America and the Caribbean) and a mysterious world of color that was to come. I will never forget it.