Oberlin’s Masterworks at the Phillips Collection
WASHINGTON, DC.- Twenty-five old master and modern works from the Allen Memorial Art Museum are juxtaposed with works from The Phillips Collection, underscoring the relationship of art through the ages and Duncan Phillips’s belief in “the antiquity of modern ideas… the modernity of some of the old masters.”
Paintings by Erhard Altdorfer, the Cavaliere d’Arpino, Cézanne, Monet, Picasso, Kirchner, Rothko, Barnett Newman, and others are installed in contexts that explore how art across time can be juxtaposed to create new ways of looking at art. Outstanding Dutch and Flemish works by Hendrick ter Brugghen—his Saint Sebastian Tended by Irene of 1625 is considered one of the most important Northern Baroque paintings in this country—and Sweerts’s Self-Portrait (ca. 1656), are included along with Rubens’s Finding of Erichthonius of about 1632-33. Oberlin’s Rubens painting is shown with the Phillips’s radiant Luncheon of the Boating Party made about 1880 by Auguste Renoir; throughout his career, Renoir was inspired by Rubens’s colors and compositions.
Austrian artist Oskar Kokoschka’s Sposalizio (Double Portrait) of 1912 was donated to the AMAM by the artist’s friend Lotte Franzos and is displayed near the Phillips’s portrait of Franzos by the same artist—both paintings provide a window on Kokoschka’s attempts to capture the psychological state of his sitters through expressive means. AMAM works by Rothko, Gottlieb, and Newman are displayed outside the Phillips’s beautiful Rothko room—providing a fuller story about these artists’ role in defining the nascent New York School and Abstract Expressionism.