|18 x 24 / Untitled / oil on linen panel|
After a harrowing Sunday at Art Mash - trying to paint a Viking - I gave up and wiped off my attempt. I don't know why I had such a hard time painting him but after returning home it struck me that I was not
in love with this Viking. He was dressed all in brown and raw siena against a dark background, sitting on a dark brown furry throw and holding a black sword. He just did not excite my senses and, try as I might, I could not paint him. And so I show you my slightly unfinished current steeplechase painting instead.
And now for The Phillips Collection!
Located near Dupont Circle in Washington DC, the Phillips family collected over 600 paintings in their private residence before turning it into an art gallery open to the public in 1921. Today The Phillips Collection is home to an extraordinary
collection of more than 3,000 works ranging from masterpieces of French
impressionism and American modernism to contemporary art. By displaying superb
works in an intimate setting, founder Duncan Phillips hoped to encourage
visitors to appreciate new, challenging forms of artistic expression. Art from
different eras and places is often juxtaposed to suggest
visual "conversations." And the art itself nothing less than extraordinary!
|Pierrre Bonnard / The Circus Rider / 1894|
Such a powerful small painting! I could have spent an hour musing over this small piece. The horse and rider are one in intent and emotion - and the joy and tension evident in their union is masterful to behold. I felt like the magic of this moment eluded the somber faced participants watching from the stands and is truly an intimate dialogue between the painter and the viewer. If only I had gotten a better photo.
And then I turned a corner and entered a small dining room and surprisingly, above the fireplace, most likely where it has hung for over 100 years, was this intense and familiar self portrait that I have seen time and again in books on Cezanne. Looking closely at the brushwork was like having a lesson from the painter himself!
|Paul Cezanne / Self Portrait / 1878-1880|
And a lovely, serene Cezanne landscape...
|Cezanne / Mont Sainte Victoire / 1886-1887|
I was completely captivated by this stunning portrait - and look at that fantastic frame! I don't know much about Chaim Soutine, but after seeing this work, I am motivated to research him and his work.
|Chaim Soutine / Woman in Profile / 1937|
|Gustave Courbet / The Mediterranean / 1857|
A magnificent seascape by Courbet - the color is unlike any sea or landscape that I have seen. It is a complete wonder.
And upon turning another corner, I had my breath taken away by this incredible Degas masterpiece! It is very large - 51 x 38 inches and vibrates with color and brushwork that delights the eye from corner to corner. The ballerinas skirts, skin, bodices are all fused together with color and brushwork while the languid tension of the ballerinas as they stretch and turn at the barre is overpowering.
|Edgar Degas / Dancers at the Barre / 1900|
And in this close up shot below, you can notice the strong sketchy dark blue lines curving around the limbs and here and there on the bodices. And just look at her face! There is a lesson here for me as a painter in boldness and freedom from fear. I wanted to take this painting home with me!
|Close up - Dancers at the Barre|
And an earlier Degas - so different from the dancers - it is small and very somber with sorrow etched in her face and throughout the composition.
|Edgar Degas / Melancholy / 1860|
A graphite sketch by Renoir of Rodin!
|Pierre August Renoir / Portrait of Rodin / undated|
And lastly, this very beautiful, very decorative interior scene of a woman reading by Vuillard. There is so much to see in this painting - each stroke of paint is like a little surprising gift!
|Edouard Vuillard / The Newspaper / 1896|
There is so much more to see and marvel at in this gem of a museum - including a Van Gogh, works by Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Chardin, Goya and El Greco! I could go on and on..... However, I will end with the work that this museum is most well known for and one I would suppose every art loving person on earth is familiar with. This work by Renoir -
|Pierre Auguste Renoir / Luncheon of the Boating Party / 1880|
It is so large ( 51 x 69 inches) that it takes up an entire wall and is so much more fascinating in real life than can be captured in any photo. It gave me a new found appreciation of Renoir! I hope that all who read about this wonderful collection of art will have a chance some day to visit the Phillips Collection. It is well worth the trip and the wonder of it all lingers in my mind.