Monday, March 9, 2020

THE PHILLIPS COLLECTION, Washington, D.C.: What Do You Hang Over the Fireplace?

Five Brothers by Alfonso Ossorio at the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
On a visit to Washington, D.C., last spring, I visited the Phillips Collection, the art museum that began as the private collection of the Duncan Phillips family and is now a premier museum of modern art. (Duncan Phillips, who founded the museum, was the grandson of wealthy banker and steel magnate, James H. Laughlin, and son of Pittsburgh window glass millionaire, Duncan Clinch Phillips.) For an overall description of the museum collection and its history, see my earlier post.
As we moved into the part of the museum that was the original Phillips house, I was struck by the way the paintings were integrated into the architecture of each room. Almost every room had a fireplace and I was interested to see how over each one a painting had been selected that fit with its color and style.
Music room, with two paintings by Piet Mondrian
One exception was in the elegant music room, where elaborate wood carvings were part of the massive fireplace design and there was no room for more art. Instead, two Mondrian paintings, set off by the dark wood paneling, had been chosen to flank the fireplace.
Here are some, but not all, of the other fireplaces and their accompanying paintings.
Shells and Fishermen by Milton Avery
Amante Series No. 10 by Manuel Neri
Sunset by Albert Groll
For information about visiting the Phillips Collection, click HERE.


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