A Modern Vision: European Masterworks from The Phillips Collection
May 14-Aug. 12
Kimbell Art Museum
3333 Camp Bowie Blvd.
Fort Worth 76107
When Dorothy Kosinski, the director of The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., since 2008, asked Eric M. Lee, the director of the Kimbell Art Museum, whether he would like to host a touring show from the Phillips, he considered it for, oh, maybe a couple of seconds. Then he said yes.
The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art, opened in Washington in 1921.
“The Phillips Collection is one of my favorite museums,” Lee said at a preview of the exhibit May 11. “I’m thrilled.” Also thrilled is George T. M. Shackelford, who joined the Kimbell as deputy director in early 2012. He interned at the Phillips Collection early in his career.
The exhibit, open May 14-Aug 12 in the Kimbell’s Piano Pavilion, is titled A Modern Vision: European Masterworks from The Phillips Collection.
It features works from the first half of the 19th century by Courbet, Corot, Daumier, Delacroix and Ingres and well as Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces by Cézanne, Degas, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Redon and Sisley.
The Kimbell says that central to the exhibition are works by Bonnard, de Staël, Kandinsky, Matisse, Morandi and Picasso, artists who shaped the look of the 20th century.
The artworks are on tour while the building housing The Phillips Collection is undergoing repairs and is open on a limited basis. The 1897 building once served as founder Duncan Phillips’s residence and was later transformed to a permanent gallery space for his collection.
The Piano Pavilion is a perfect venue for the paintings, allowing them to be displayed is galleries that call to mind the displays in Phillip’s Washington house.
An earlier tour, featuring American artists – To See as Artists See: American Art from The Phillips Collection – visited the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in 2013.
The exhibit is displayed roughly in chronological order at the Kimbell, and the visitor is immediately greeted by The Uprising (L’Emeute) painted around 1848 by Honoré Daumier. The painting captures a revolutionary moment in the often-violent period in 19th century French politics, the Phillips Collection material says.
From there, the exhibit winds through the rooms of the Pavilion. Phillips was interested in color and joy in the paintings he collected from the 1920s until his death in 1966, Shackelford said, that that theme carries through the exhibit.
Many of these works have not traveled together in more than 20 years. A Modern Vision, in the words of Duncan Phillips, gathers “congenial spirits among the artists from different parts of the world and from different periods of time,” demonstrating “that art is a universal language,” the Kimbell said in its description of the works.