Phillips Flashback: March 1920

Spring, Ernest Lawson, circa 1913

Spring, Ernest Lawson, c.1913. Oil on canvas mounted on panel, 16 1/8 x 20 1/8 in. Acquired 1915, The Phillips Collection

March 20, 1920: James Laughlin Phillip’s widow, Alice, writes to Duncan Phillips after having learned about his plans to found the museum in her late husband’s memory:

I think it is a lovely idea, and one I am sure would have pleased Jim more than anything else. Of course I should love to give the two Lawson pictures…

James, Duncan’s beloved brother, died in 1918 during the influenza epidemic. Spring by Ernest Lawson (above) was one of the paintings donated by Alice to the fledgling museum. According to The Eye of Duncan Phillips (Yale University Press, 1999), the other donated work remains unidentified.