Congenial Spirits: Chagall and Bonnard (Off the Walls)

As the galleries are closed to the public today, curator Elsa Smithgall took the opportunity to bring out the Phillips’s monumental The Terrace (1918) by Pierre Bonnard alongside other paintings by the artist in our permanent collection. Bonnard’s work is presented in conversation with this dreamy painting by Marc Chagall. You can visit them beginning tomorrow, but for now here’s an off-the-wall preview.

Stay tuned for a series of spotlight talks about Chagall’s painting at noon every Thursday in January. The spotlights anticipate a theater program here at the Phillips on January 31, which will preview the world premiere of a play created by Double Edge Theatre that is inspired by Chagall’s work—The Grand Parade (of the Twentieth Century)—on stage at Arena February 6–10.

(clockwise from top) Marc Chagall's The Dream (1939) and Pierre Bonnard's The Terrace (1918) take their positions and wait to be hung. Bonnard's The Open Window (1921) and The Checkered Tablecloth (c. 1925) will soon hang side by side. Bonnard's Interior With Boy (1910) and Bowl of Cherries (1920) await placement.

(clockwise from top) Marc Chagall’s The Dream (1939) and Pierre Bonnard’s The Terrace (1918) take their positions and wait to be hung. Bonnard’s The Open Window (1921) and The Checkered Tablecloth (c. 1925) will soon hang side by side. Bonnard’s Interior With Boy (1910) and Bowl of Cherries (1920) await placement.

Ciao!

The International Art and Language Soiree hosted at the Phillips on Thursday, August 16 in collaboration with the International Club of DC provided an incredible atmosphere of cultural infusion. The Tryst at the Phillips café was the perfect meeting place for all who attended, including experienced foreign language speakers and beginners looking to try something new. The native speakers and conversation facilitators led ongoing discussions about their cultures and the variety of works featured at the Phillips produced by artists of their respective cultural backgrounds. For example, the Russian patrons discussed Chagall and Rothko, the Spanish patrons discussed Picasso and Goya, and the French patrons discussed Renoir and Cézanne.

The mood was light and fun, comfortable and relaxed, making it easy to approach any language table and give it a try. Much to my surprise, that is exactly what many of the attendees did. I watched in awe as individuals floated between the Russian table and the German table, the Spanish table and the Italian table. There was minimal emphasis on proficiency in a single language and more emphasis on a friendly interaction with something new. I felt my confidence building as I observed the excitement of all the attendees in this culturally charged environment. Maybe this week I’ll attempt to recall some Spanish from my high school days, or just sit in on the French discussion to assess how much of it I can understand with my minimal background in the romance languages. Either way, the art and language soiree at The Phillips Collection provides an irresistibly welcoming vibe that encourages everyone to join the fun.

To get a feel for how these language and art soirees unfold, check out this video, courtesy of the International Club of DC, which was recorded the night I attended.

Laura McNeil, Graduate Intern for Programs and Lectures

The Artist Sees Differently: Rachel Goldberg

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

Self-portrait by Rachel Goldberg

How did you learn about the Phillips?

I learned about the Phillips while researching Georgia O’Keeffe’s process for distributing her husband, Alfred Stieglitz’s, collection of photographs to major museums after his death. She chose very specific works for each museum to which she gave the work—the Phillips was given a small group of Stieglitz’s Equivalents.

Do you feel you are inspired by the Phillips artwork?

Definitely.

Do you work in digital or film — and do you listen to anything when you work on your photographs?

I work in whatever photographic medium best suits my current project. I have a particular interest in historic, 19th-century photographic processes, but I also enjoy the immediacy of digital.

What I’m listening to when I’m working on my photographs really depends on where I am in the process. When I’m out in the world photographing, I think the sounds of my surroundings inform the way I compose the images. When I’m in the darkroom I’m usually listening to something pretty mellow on my iPod, and at the computer I like to stream my favorite radio station back in Denver. Continue reading “The Artist Sees Differently: Rachel Goldberg” »