The Music Room and Tack Reunited

(left) Music Room with "Liberation" and "Ecstasy" by Tack and screen by Charles Prendergast in dining room beyond 1930-31. Photo: The Phillips Collection archive. (right) Music Room with Tack's "Liberation" and "Ecstasy" today. Photo: Sean Ware

In celebration of the Phillips’s 90th anniversary, Augustus Vincent Tack’s works have returned to the Music Room. I was recently able to hear a Spotlight Talk by Volunteer Coordinator Lisa Leinberger on the history between Tack and the Music Room.

Originally commissioned as frescoes to decorate this space, these works were to accompany a barrel vaulted ceiling, invoking the mystic atmosphere of an Old World church. While the ceiling was never built and the frescoes instead became panels, the paintings still recall that initial concept through their lunette frames and colors inspired by John LaFarge’s stained glass work. By providing an uplifting spirituality, this quiet and contemplative space offered a welcome escape from the difficult reality of the Great Depression.

The return of these works seems appropriately timed during the current economic trouble and will perhaps offer the same respite for visitors as they once did.  I experienced this response myself when first encountering the installation, as the combination of the muted panels and the dim setting invoked a sense of greater things and produced a decidedly humbling perspective.

For those inspired to learn more, Dorothy Kosinski leads a Director’s Perspective on Tack’s work in the Music Room at 6:30 pm this evening.

-Sean Ware, Communications and Marketing Intern

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