From Hopper to Rothko: America’s Road to Modern Art

June 17 to October 3, 2017

American art from the first half of the twentieth century is still relatively unknown in Europe. The three central themes of the exhibition – landscapes, portraits, and cityscapes – present a cross-section of American painting. The show will trace the beginnings of abstract painting, which also developed during this time. After 1945, this culminated in Abstract Expressionism, and New York City became the new center of the art world. Works from The Phillips Collection highlight all of these developments.

The exhibition From Hopper to Rothko: America’s Road to Modern Art will provide a panorama of subjects and styles ranging from Impressionism to Abstract Expressionism – taking visitors on a journey through landscape art, portrait painting, and cityscapes to Color Field Painting, with works along the way by George Inness (1825–1894), Marsden Hartley (1877–1943), Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986), Richard Diebenkorn (1922–1993), and more. Through his activity as a collector, Duncan Phillips (1886–1966), an art critic and patron of the arts, and founder of The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., championed and supported America’s modern artists helped shape the canon of 20th century American art. Opening in 1921, The Phillips Collection predated the founding of the Museum of Modern Art (1929) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1931). Phillips’s view of art as a universal language that transcends national schools and eras endures to this day as an inspiration to others.

The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.,
in cooperation with the Museum Barberini, Potsdam.

Exhibition view "From Hopper to Rothko. America's Road to Modern Art", Museum Barberini, Photo: Helge Mundt, © Museum Barberini

Exhibition view "From Hopper to Rothko. America's Road to Modern Art", Museum Barberini, Photo: Helge Mundt, © Museum Barberini

American art from the first half of the twentieth century is still relatively unknown in Europe. The three central themes of the exhibition – landscapes, portraits, and cityscapes – present a cross-section of American painting. The show will trace the beginnings of abstract painting, which also developed during this time. After 1945, this culminated in Abstract Expressionism, and New York City became the new center of the art world. Works from The Phillips Collection highlight all of these developments.

The exhibition From Hopper to Rothko: America’s Road to Modern Art will provide a panorama of subjects and styles ranging from Impressionism to Abstract Expressionism – taking visitors on a journey through landscape art, portrait painting, and cityscapes to Color Field Painting, with works along the way by George Inness (1825–1894), Marsden Hartley (1877–1943), Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986), Richard Diebenkorn (1922–1993), and more. Through his activity as a collector, Duncan Phillips (1886–1966), an art critic and patron of the arts, and founder of The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., championed and supported America’s modern artists helped shape the canon of 20th century American art. Opening in 1921, The Phillips Collection predated the founding of the Museum of Modern Art (1929) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1931). Phillips’s view of art as a universal language that transcends national schools and eras endures to this day as an inspiration to others.

The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.,
in cooperation with the Museum Barberini, Potsdam.

Exhibition view "From Hopper to Rothko. America's Road to Modern Art", Museum Barberini, Photo: Helge Mundt, © Museum Barberini

Exhibition view "From Hopper to Rothko. America's Road to Modern Art", Museum Barberini, Photo: Helge Mundt, © Museum Barberini

Claude Monet

Claude Monet
Duncan Phillips (1886–1966) was a member of a wealthy Gilded Age family in the USA. He was only 32 years old in 1918 when he began his plans to open a museum in Washington D.C. It is thanks to his initiative that the first American museum of modern art was founded. He remained the director of the Phillips Collection until his death in 1966.
Duncan Phillips, Summer 1921

Duncan Phillips, Summer 1921

Duncan Phillips (1886–1966) was a member of a wealthy Gilded Age family in the USA. He was only 32 years old in 1918 when he began his plans to open a museum in Washington D.C. It is thanks to his initiative that the first American museum of modern art was founded. He remained the director of the Phillips Collection until his death in 1966.
About the artist

Born in 1840 in Paris, Claude Monet was introduced to painting outdoors while still a youth by Eugène Boudin, who was sixteen years his senior and well-known for his beach scenes. This became a central theme of Monet’s creative process. He explored the effect of light by repeatedly painting series of the same landscape at various times of day and during all seasons. He died in Giverny in 1926 – at the place where he had planted his magnificent garden full of flowers.

The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C.

Founded in 1921 in Washington D.C., The Phillips Collection was the first museum of modern art in the United States. The museum’s holdings include 188 paintings by contemporary American artists. Phillips was an enthusiastic supporter of young American artists who had received little recognition up to that point in time.

Main gallery with a special exhibition featuring contemporary American and French painting with an Egyptian head from the Eighteenth Dynasty (1570-1293 BCE), 1927

Main gallery with a special exhibition featuring contemporary American and French painting with an Egyptian head from the Eighteenth Dynasty (1570-1293 BCE), 1927

Founded in 1921 in Washington D.C., The Phillips Collection was the first museum of modern art in the United States. The museum’s holdings include 188 paintings by contemporary American artists. Phillips was an enthusiastic supporter of young American artists who had received little recognition up to that point in time.

Main gallery with a special exhibition featuring contemporary American and French painting with an Egyptian head from the Eighteenth Dynasty (1570-1293 BCE), 1927

Main gallery with a special exhibition featuring contemporary American and French painting with an Egyptian head from the Eighteenth Dynasty (1570-1293 BCE), 1927