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The Phillips Collection: A Washington Treasure


The Phillips Collection is an Art Gallery in a place that frankly I had never heard about.  After visiting there, I have been touting their museum to anyone going to Washington DC.  I happened to be staying in my favorite hotel, the Georgetown Inn, and wanted to see some sights within walking distance or a short bus ride. 


Researching possibilities, I settled on the Phillips Collection and the nearby International Arts and Artists Gallery.  I was a little early arriving at the Phillips Collection, so I bought my advanced ticket and went to the International Arts Gallery just a couple of blocks away hidden in the back lanes (another later story). 

Renoir: Boating at Argenteuil, and Young Man and Young Woman

Once arriving at the Phillips Collection, I was amazed to learn that it was America’s first museum of art, just as it states on their brochure.  Wheelchairs for handicapped visitors are complimentary and there is a coat check and listening device service available. 


The biggest surprise was that the current exhibit was 40 works of Renoir who is one of my favorite artists.  Masters such as Van Gogh, El Greco, Matisse, Cezanne and others also had their works on display here.  The exhibit was entitled Renoir and Friends and focused on the inspiration of the best permanent work of the Phillips Collection by Renoir.

Bonnard, Early Spring; Cezanne, Pot with Pomegranate and Pears

Luncheon of the Boating Parly075
An assortment of hats suitable for an outing on the river...

Luncheon of the Boating Party (1880-81) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir remains the best known and most popular work of art at The Phillips Collection, just as Duncan Phillips imagined it would be when he bought it in 1923. 


There are currently over 4,000 works of modern and contemporary art in Phillips' childhood home which is now the museum.  Duncan Phillips (1886-1966) was the grandson of a steel magnate from my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Spanish Ballet by Manet; a panel of the Jacob Lawrence Migration Series. The Phillips Collection owns half the panels; the rest are at MoMA in New York.

The Renoir & Friends exhibit has ended and the current rotation of exhibits features Nordic Impressions (ends January 13, 2019), featuring works from the last 200 years.  The exhibits are excellent and I plan to add this to my must see list whenever I make my next trip to Washington DC.  The museum had no crowds and was easily navigable with closeup views of each work.  A totally relaxing and enjoyable experience.

Picasso Reclining FigureThe Blue Room by Picasso
Picasso: Reclining Figure and The Blue Room

The Phillips Collection is located at 1600 21st Street, NW in Washington, DC 20009.  It is open Tuesday thru Saturday from 10AM to 5PM with extended hours on Thursday until 8:30PM.  Sundays are open from 12 Noon to 6:30PM.   Adults are $12, Students / Seniors 62+ are $10, Age 18 and under are Free.  Non-commercial photography without flash is permitted.

BraquePhilodendronCharlesBurchfieldRainyNightEl GrecoRepentantStPeter077
Georges Braque, Philodendron; Charles Burchfield, Rainy Night; El Greco, Repentant Saint Peter

StuartDavisEggBeater#4Above, Stuart Davis, Eggbeater #4; Below, Van Gogh, The Road Menders and House at Auvergne

Van GoghTheRoadMendersVanGoghHouseAtAuvergne


Images (22)
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  • BonnardEarlySpring
  • BraquePhilodendron
  • CezannePotWithPomegranate&Pears
  • CharlesBurchfieldRainyNight
  • EdouardManetSpanishBallet
  • El GrecoRepentantStPeter
  • JacobLawrenceTenantFarmersReceivedHarshTreatment
  • Luncheon of the Boating Parly
  • Picasso Reclining Figure
  • RenoirBoatingAtArgenteuil
  • RenoirYoungManandWoman
  • StuartDavisEggBeater#4
  • The Blue Room by Picasso
  • Van GoghTheRoadMenders
  • VanGoghHouseAtAuvergne

George G

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