We were saddened to hear of the passing of beloved Phillips trustee emeritus and distinguished artist William Christenberry earlier this week. His work continues to resonate and impact in our galleries and beyond. Here, Collections Care Manager Laura Tighe is matting and preparing a microclimate frame for two color photographs by the artist. The works (“Bread of Life,” near Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1989/printed 1995 above at left; “Church across Early Cotton (Vertical View),” Pickinsville, Alabama, 1964/printed 2000 below and to right) will be part of an upcoming solo exhibition in December 2016 at Maryland Institute College of Art.
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.
2. Paul Klee, The Witch with the Comb. The fierce brows say it all.
3. Sensing some side-eye from Joseph Solman’s Portrait in Yellow and Blue.
4) Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s Portrait of a Woman unsuccessfully feigning interest.
To end on a happy note: channel this woman from Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Cry Laughing!
My favorite work from The Phillips Collection’s permanent collection is Marjorie Phillips’s 1951 oil painting, Night Baseball. There is something nostalgic about the way Phillips represents a night at Griffith Stadium. This visual representation of the moment just before the pitch is thrown evokes all of the other senses. When I look at this painting, I hear the buzz of the crowd and I feel the wind push my skin as the breeze ushers in the smells of the ballpark. Phillips masterfully depicts a night sky that is black but somehow simultaneously glowing from the stadium lights—an effect that is familiar to anyone who has been to a nighttime sports game.
Night Baseball is an enduring snapshot of American life. Perhaps my favorite thing about this piece is its current placement within the museum: on a wall adjacent to the landing of a staircase; the location seems almost incidental. I think its placement adds to its charm—Night Baseball endears itself to the viewer by immersing her in a sensory-rich, familiar American scene.
Lizzie Moore, Marketing & Communications Intern