5 Disgruntled Characters from the Collection

Not every sitter is excited to be painted. The Phillips owns a wide range of portraits, and within them, all manner of expressions. Here are five less-than-enthused subjects from the museum’s permanent collection.

1. Chaim Soutine’s Woman in Profile  is #NotImpressed.

Soutine_woman in profile

Chaim Soutine, Woman in Profile, ca. 1937. Oil on canvas, 18 13/8 x 10 7/8 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC. Acquired 1943; © 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY

2. Paul Klee, The Witch with the Comb. The fierce brows say it all.

Klee_the witch with the comb

Paul Klee, The Witch with the Comb, 1922. Lithograph, 20 7/8 in x 16 3/4 in x 1 1/4 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC. Gift of B. J. and Carol Cutler, 2006; © 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY

3. Sensing some side-eye from Joseph Solman’s Portrait in Yellow and Blue.

Solman_portrait in yellow and blue

Joseph Solman, Portrait in Yellow and Blue, not dated, Oil on canvas 20 x 16 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC. Acquired 1954

4) Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s Portrait of a Woman unsuccessfully feigning interest.

Corot_portrait of a woman

Unsuccessfully feigning interest. Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Portrait of a Woman, 1870, Oil on canvas, 22 7/8 in x 19 in x 1 5/8 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC. Acquired 1922

5. Thomas Eakins, Miss Amelia Van Buren. Read what visitors told us she’s thinking in these earlier blog posts.

Eakins_Miss Amelia Van Buren

Thomas Eakins, Miss Amelia Van Buren, ca. 1891. Oil on canvas, 45 x 32 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC. Acquired 1927

To end on a happy note: channel this woman from Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Cry Laughing!

taylor-johnson_cry laughing

Sam Taylor-Johnson, Cry Laughing, 1997. 8 C-type prints on aluminum, each print: 16 x 12 in. The Phillips Collection. Gift of the Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Washington, DC, 2011

Spotlight on Intersections@5: Linn Meyers

The Phillips celebrates the fifth anniversary of its Intersections contemporary art series with Intersections@5, an exhibition comprising work by 20 of the participating artists. In this blog series, each artist writes about his or her work on view.


Linn Meyers, Untitled, 2014. Gift of Lucinda and Carlos Garcia

The unmediated directness of making a drawing is the result of a line being an extension of the hand and the body. The line is universal.

At the Time Being was a site-specific wall drawing made in response to Van Gogh’s The Road Menders. I chose Van Gogh’s work as a starting point because the method that the artist used to apply paint to his canvases shares some of the same qualities of a drawing.

Twenty-five years ago, I began my career as a painter. Over time I became enamored with the distilled qualities of drawing, and eventually drawing became my primary focus.

While working on the Intersections project in 2010, however, I found that I was not only drawing on the wall, but also using a paintbrush to enhance the image. That return to painting as a mode of expression during the project at the Phillips has stuck with me, and Untitled, 2014 is evidence of that. The piece blends drawing and painting; it puts the two modes of expression on equal footing. The lines in Untitled, 2014 have a calligraphic quality that was achieved with a paintbrush; however, the act of making a line is, in and of itself, an act of drawing.

Linn Meyers

Strictly Painting Is Anything But

Strictly Painting 3_Catherine Day

Guests enjoy the opening of Strictly Painting. Photo by Catherine Day

This year I was invited to jury the Strictly Painting 10 biannual that McLean Project for the Arts initiated 10 years ago, showcasing selected works by artists from a broader Washington Metropolitan area. The exhibition, on view through August 1, is anyhting but “strictly painting,” diverse in media, subject matters, and aesthetic approaches.

There is a lot going on in the DC-area art scene and this especially lively opening only confirmed it.

Vesela Sretenovic, Phillips Senior Curator

Strictly Painting 2

Phillips Contemporaries members Todd Galaida, Laura Deming, and Carl Bedell attend the opening with Phillips Curator and Strictly Painting 10 exhibition juror Vesela Sretenovic.

Strictly Painting 5_Catherine Day

Winning artists Shante Bullock (left) and Lilianne Milgrom (right) with exhibition juror Vesela Sretenovic. Photos by Catherine Day

Strictly Painting 4_Catherine Day

Guests enjoy the opening of Strictly Painting. Photo by Catherine Day