Marjorie Phillips, Montauk Point, c. 1922. Oil on canvas, 18 7/8 x 30 3/8 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Bequest of Elmira Bier, 1976.
As D.C. continues a gloomy week of winter drizzle, Marjorie Phillips‘s Montauk Point (c. 1922) reminds us of more pleasant days to come. This work was recently placed on view and greets us in the stairwell between Goh Annex and Music Room. If the painting cheers, the effect is intentional; Marjorie said of her work:
“I decided to paint the celebration of the wonder of the world. I didn’t want to paint depressing pictures. . . . That’s why my paintings are all on the cheerful side—I felt it was needed.”
Not only are we reminded of beach days to come, but the painting transports us to the heart of the story that unfolds in upcoming exhibition Angels, Demons, and Savages: Pollock, Ossorio, Dubuffet. Montauk Point State Park lies just beyond East Hampton where Jackson Pollock and Alfonso Ossorio made their homes and cultivated a friendship that inspired great artistic production. In just 24 days, the exhibition brings that world to the Phillips.
This painting, known in 1925 as “New York Roof,” was part of the first Little Room exhibition. Marjorie Phillips, The City, 1922. Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Gift of the artist, 1984.
On January 4, 1925, the Sunday Star runs a column by its art critic Leila Mechlin, who reports:
The Phillips Memorial Gallery has extended its exhibition facilities by opening a little gallery in the Phillips residence communicating, up a few steps, with the main gallery in the annex. In this little gallery, which has excellent lighting, are to be installed during the remainder of the season a series of one-man shows to run a fortnight each. The series was inaugurated this week by an exhibition of the recent work of Marjorie Phillips- a good beginning, and one which augurs well for the interest of the plan.
The space, known as the Little Gallery (and later identified as Gallery B), will be used to highlight the work of American artists such as Ernest Lawson, Childe Hassam, Charles Demuth and others. The installation of Marjorie’s work is on view January 4 through 17, 1925.
Asked to describe her ideal last meal, Julia Child (whose 100th birthday would have been today) imagined a joyfully decadent menu building from caviar, Russian vodka sauce, and oysters with Pouilly-Fuisse wine to pommes anna and fresh asparagus. Dessert might include ripe pears and green tea or sorbet with walnut cake. Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child (1997) also lists among the heroic foody’s go-to comfort food red meat and gin. Many an artist has also turned to food and flavors for inspiration and happiness. In honor of Julia Child, we present some of the most delectable food moments in The Phillips Collection .
Georges Braque, Lemons and Oysters, 1927. Oil on canvas, 10 3/4 x 13 3/4 in. Acquired 1941.
Marjorie Phillips, The Big Pear, 1955. Oil on canvas, 12 1/8 x 14 in. Acquired 1955 (?)
John D. Graham, Pears, 1926. Oil on canvas; 14 1/8 x 17 1/8 in. Gift of Marjorie Phillips, 1985.
Pierre Bonnard, Bowl of Cherries, 1920. Oil on canvas, 11 7/8 x 16 1/2 in. Gift of Marion L. Ring Estate, 1987.
Paul Gauguin, The Ham, 1889. Oil on canvas, 19 3/4 x 22 3/4 in. Acquired 1951.
Joseph Goldyne, Asparagus at the Phillips, 1979. Monotype on paper, 3 1/2 x 3 in. Gift of the artist, 1979.