“European Masterworks: The Phillips Collection” will run April 6 through July 14, 2019

The High Museum of Art is the exclusive venue in the Southeast for “European Masterworks: The Phillips Collection” (April 6 – July 14, 2019), an exhibition featuring 75 iconic paintings and sculptures from America’s first museum of modern art. These incomparable Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Expressionist artworks exemplify the distinctive eye of collector Duncan Phillips, who opened his acclaimed museum in Washington, D.C., in 1921.

Visitors to the exhibition will encounter exquisite examples of Romanticism and Realism by Eugène Delacroix, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Honoré Daumier, Gustave Courbet and Édouard Manet in dialogue with masterpieces by Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh. Also on view are superb works by modern artists who held a special place in Phillips’ pioneering collection and who shaped the look of the 20th century, including Pierre Bonnard, Georges Braque, Nicolas de Staël, Alberto Giacometti, Wassily Kandinsky, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, and Pablo Picasso. Many of the works in the exhibition have not traveled together in more than 20 years.

The grandson of a prominent Pittsburgh industrialist, Phillips built this extraordinary collection over the course of his life to share it with an international audience. He believed that “the really good things of all ages and all periods could be brought together … with such delightful results that we recognize the special affinities of artists.”

“We are terrifically pleased to bring these compelling and beautiful works from The Phillips Collection to the High,” said Kevin W. Tucker, chief curator at the High. “We hope our visitors will take full advantage of this special opportunity for an intimate viewing of these masterworks representing some of the most important artistic achievements in the history of modern art.”

The works in the exhibition survey the incisive stylistic and conceptual shifts in the development of modern art during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, from Courbet, Monet and Matisse to Kandinsky, Giacometti and beyond. This broad view is overlaid by Duncan Phillips’ notion of “units” (in-depth representations of some of his favorite artists), which comprise:

  • Three paintings by Daumier, including the powerful oil on canvas “The Uprising” (“L’Emeute”; ca. 1848)
  • “The Open Window” (1929) and three other important paintings by Bonnard
  • Seven paintings by Braque, including the late lyrical landscape “The Shower” (1952)
  • Picasso’s “The Woman with Green Hat” (1939) along with three other paintings and two sculptures

Organized by The Phillips Collection and a team led by Joseph Holbach, director of special initiatives, and Renée Maurer, associate curator, the exhibition tour included stops at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas (May 14 – Aug. 13, 2017) and the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo, Japan (Oct. 17, 2018 – Feb. 3, 2019). Einecke is the presenting curator for the High.

Opening Weekend Talk: Dr. Susan Behrends Frank
April 6 at 2 p.m.

Hill Auditorium

Dr. Susan Behrends Frank, curator at The Phillips Collection in D.C., will give the opening lecture for “European Masterworks: The Phillips Collection.” Established at the end of World War I by the young collector Duncan Phillips (1886-1966), The Phillips Collection has always been dedicated to the idea of modernism as a dialogue between the past and the present. Frank’s lecture will provide insights into the evolution of Phillips’ eye and his determination to create an “experiment station” for modernism in the nation’s capital.

Seating is limited. Please reserve your tickets in advance.
$14.50 General Admission ticket. Free for members, but reservations required. Tickets and reservations available at
www.high.org or by calling the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office at 404-733-5000.

Objects of Enchantment: Why Still-Life Painting Is Modern (According to Duncan Phillips)
May 16 at 7 p.m.
Hill Auditorium

Join Michael Marrinan as he unfurls the evolution of Duncan Phillips’ views on art. Initially ferociously anti-modernist, Phillips eventually established the first museum of modern art in the United States. Marrinan will elaborate on how Phillips’ attention to still-life paintings brought him to the point where today we can celebrate his modern vision. Marrinan is professor emeritus of art history at Stanford University, where he has taught since 1989. He previously taught for nine years at Columbia University in New York. His principal areas of research are French art and culture from the 18th to the 20th century.

Seating is limited. Please reserve your tickets in advance.
$14.50 General Admission ticket. Free for members, but reservations required. Tickets and reservations available at
www.high.org or by calling the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office at 404-733-5000.

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