Friday, August 26, 2016

July 26 -- Phillips Collection


By the time I got to the Phillips Collection, I was dripping sweat.  I made my way immediately to a ladies' room, where I de-hat-headed myself, washed my hands in cool water, and wiped my face with a cool wet paper towel.  Better.

Unfortunately I found both of the special exhibits disappointing.  One of them was extensive, with many works, all of which I found unappealing in the extreme.  I didn't find them interesting, and did not record any of them.

Moving right along, the always-reliable permanent collection has a small room full of Rothkos.

This was my fave.  I am happy with this image -- I like all the rectangles, and I like the way the gold rectangle in the painting talks to the color of the floor.....

There's a lot more going on in a Rothko than one (or two) rectangle(s) painted on a painted rectangular canvas.  The fact that he uses multiple colors (not just two) is one thing that makes this more interesting to me than it could be.

(It wasn't very light in that room, so this close crop is rather pixelated.  The original isn't so speckledy.)

And of course I love orange.  With hot pink.

The William Merritt Chase exhibit had some wonderful paintings -- all "no photography," which always makes me cranky.  So stupid.....  I said something I hope was polite to the person who told me not to take pics, and she said they were under restrictions from whichever institution owns many of the works on display.  So we won't blame the Phillips for the restriction, but we'll think whoever makes policy for the institution which owns the paintings is hidebound and short-sighted.

Chase went, well, chasing around Europe doing his painterly work, leaving his wife home in the States.  With their eight (8) children.  I can't feel all warm and fuzzy about this.  I hope his wife thought that was the best, most fun, thing she could possibly have been doing...........................

She was an early adopter of "home photography," I guess, and recorded their daily life so Bill wouldn't feel too left out when he was gone for months and months at a time. 

In addition to being a renowned and sought-after portraitist, Chase taught art students.  Georgia O'Keeffe studied under him.

The Phillips Collection is in what was Marjorie and Duncan's home (as well as some other space beside the building they lived in).  There are old staircases, and new connections between spaces.  This connection between what I suspect were two different buildings is embellished with this chair and table.  I bet that chair is really uncomfortable without pillows to mold to the natural curves of your back, but the color of its velvet seat is nice (better in the next image) and the top of the little table shows off some very interesting wood.

This corridor is lined with windows on both sides.  I didn't peek through the blinds, but I suspect this might be a pleasant place to have one's tea in the morning, if it were cool enough to have a breeze through all those windows, and one could make the chair comfortable with just the right pillows?

Looking down at the arm of the chair, the shadows on the seat of the chair, and the top of the little table.  I wonder what kind of wood the table top is made of.

I wonder what Marjorie and Duncan would think of some of the things that now occupy their museum.

I'm pretty sure this is not art.  It is a very small room (think large-ish closet) that is entirely lined with beeswax.

I find it very appealing to look at, and, wow, does it smell nice.  Mmmmmm.

This is a bunch of silver leaf stuck to the wall.  When I was in elementary school and jr. high, sticks of chewing gum came wrapped in pieces of paper backed with aluminum foil.  If you carefully peeled the aluminum foil off the paper, you could burnish the foil to your wooden (or formica?) school desk surface.  And it would look *just* like this, only not so perfectly rectangular.  Nor so large.

Was our aluminum-foil embellishment of our desks art?  No.  If this is, why?  Because the materials are expensive?  Because it is bigger?  Or because someone sold some curator a line............????

I didn't check to see if it smelled like Juicy Fruit, at least, but I'm guessing it didn't.

Again, when we want to look at art, we have to fall back on the things collected by Marjorie and Duncan.  (Suspecting they would be turning in their graves, to see some of the stuff that's in their house these days!)

"Luncheon of the Boating Party"  1880-1881  Auguste Renoir   Pleasant subject(s), beautifully rendered.  Thank you, Marjorie and Duncan!  This painting is amazing in person.  Do stop in and see it, if you find yourself in Washington, DC...........

Sharing a room with Renoir -- "Fields at Bellevue" between 1892 and 1895  Paul Cezanne.  (Love the way the shadows show the 3D-ness of the frame....)

Another Cezanne -- "Glass and Apples"  1879-1882

Here's a glimpse of one of the staircases I mentioned before.  And an excellent clock.

I love this -- so much detail and interest.  I wouldn't want to own it (too big, and not really my style) but I'm so glad it's here and I could enjoy it.

This was painted by Marjorie Phillips herself.  She was an accomplished and dedicated painter.  "Night Baseball"  1951

Marjorie's bio on the Phillips Collection website says she had a huge influence over what they chose for their collection.  She is quoted as saying "I decided to paint the celebration of the wonder of the world. I didn’t want to paint depressing pictures. There were so many depressing things; so many self-conscious, forced, foolish things. That’s why my paintings are all on the cheerful side—I felt it was needed."  Amen, Ms. Phillips.

Life is full enough of things that are depressing.  And then there are the self-conscious, forced, foolish things.........

Let us turn our eyes (and our pocketbooks, are you listening, curators?) from those, and deliberately choose to celebrate the wonder of the world!!!

Including this beautiful neighborhood.  What an enticing place to walk.  Even in the heat, with the shade it wasn't totally oppressive...........

The Phillips Collection is very near the Dupont Circle Metro stop.  This one is deep, but not nearly as deep as the Zoo stop.


No comments: