Love art but tired of the big galleries on the National Mall? The Phillips Collection, located on 21st and Q streets, hosts a variety of works in the exhibition Corot to Picasso: European Masterworks from the Smith College Museum of Art, which are well worth a gander.
Originally housed in the Smith College Museum Collection, the exhibit includes 58 paintings and sculptures from the 19th and 20th centuries. Although most of the exhibit features French artists, many different styles of art are covered ranging from the realist paintings of artist Jean-Baptiste Corot to Picasso’s cubism in the early 1900s.
At the beginning of the exhibit are two early pieces by Edgar Degas, “Rene de Gas and The Daughter of Jephtha.” Degas began his career painting portraits of his family and historical subjects. In the 1870s the female ballerina became his favorite subject. “Rene de Gas” is a portrait of Deags’ brother completed in 1855. Degas’ works in the exhibit include “Dancers on Stage” and an untitled bronzed statue of a young girl – examples from his ballerina series.
Other great masters of Impressionism are also featured in the small exhibit. Two of Claude Monet’s landscapes are hung side by side next to portraits by Renoir and Manet. One of the most exciting parts of the exhibit is a tiny Seurat study done in 1884, “The Woman and Her Monkey.” The study was painted before Seurat’s creation of pointalism, the neo-impressionist style of painting using small dots to create an image.
Seurat’s “Woman and her Monkey” eventually influenced the infamous “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte,” 1885.
In the back corner of the exhibit is a room filled with Picasso’s works as well as other pieces by other 20th century artists. “Figures by the Sea,” 1903, is an early Picasso piece from his “Blue Period.” The overall somber quality and hues of blue in the work scream for the attention. In the later revolutionary painting “Table, Guitar and Bottle,” Picasso uses shapes as his vision. The innovative piece seems to have no subject because of its unrecognizable objects.
Showing a vast amount of history in only a small – yet renown – collection of art, this exhibit is a must visit. It’s just too beautiful to miss. The Corot to Picasso exhibit will be at The Phillips until May 12.