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Duncan Phillips Collects: Paris between the Wars exhibition records

Identifier: IR-CUR-018

Scope and Contents

This exhibition explores Duncan Phillips' period of intense collecting of artists of the School of Paris between World War I and World War II. The exhibition is almost entirely comprised of works in the permanent collection of The Phillips Collection, including works by Bonnard, Braque, Dufy, Rouault, Matisse, and Picasso.

These curatorial records were collected and created in the course of researching, planning, and executing the exhibition and its catalog.

The exhibition opened at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., on September 14, 1991, and continued until January 12, 1992. The exhibition then traveled to the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas, September 6 through November 8, 1992; The Armand Hammer Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California, March 16 through May 23, 1993; The Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, Tennessee, August 15 through October 10, 1993; and The Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, November 6, 1993 through January 16, 1994.

The primary creator of the exhibition records was Elizabeth Hutton Turner, Associate Curator at The Phillips Collection.

The collection consists of the research and exhibition planning files of Beth Turner. These records consist of research materials assembled, catalog, and exhibition planning and execution documents such as legal and financial records, lender files (restricted), and checklists (restricted).

Great emphasis was placed on the creation of a detailed chronology of acquisitions, exhibitions, and writings, which appeared in the catalog. The chronology research contains correspondence between Duncan Phillips and various collectors and dealers. Significant and/or frequent correspondents are Bernheim-Jeune Gallery, Charles Daniel, De Hauke and Company, F. Valentine Dudensing, Frank Jewett Mather, Pierre Matisse, and Wildenstein and Company.

The files include photocopies of primary sources relating to Duncan Phillips and The Phillips Collection. Various secondary sources on artists, collectors, and dealers, consist of photocopies of articles, reviews, exhibition catalogs, and book excerpts.


  • 1905 - 1992
  • Usage: The material in this collection were used in preparation for the 1991 exhibition.


Conditions Governing Access

This collection includes restricted material.

Biographical / Historical

One of the most notable aspects of Duncan Phillips's collecting career is his relationship to modern French art. Initially rejecting European modernists like Matisse as "crude," Phillips had a change of vision in the mid 1920s that led to a deep appreciation of French modernist painting and a period of passionate collecting. Before 1925, the Phillips Memorial Gallery exhibited paintings by old masters and modern American artists with noticeable omissions of works by French modernists. By the mid-twenties, Duncan Phillips began feverishly collecting works by artists of the School of Paris, including mature works by Bonnard, Braque, Dufy, Matisse, Picasso, Rouault, Soutine, and others. This exhibition spotlights the important acquisitions of French modernism that were made during that time.


2.92 Linear Feet (7 full legal boxes)

Language of Materials



Duncan Phillips Collects: Paris between the Wars exhibition records contain materials created and/or collected by the Curatorial Department of The Phillips Collection, during the course of organizing the exhibition at The Phillips Collection. Included are research, catalog, and exhibition planning files.


The collection is organized as two series: Series 1: Research Series 2: Exhibition Planning The Research series is arranged alphabetically by subject or person, and within folders chronologically by publication date. The original arrangement of the Chronology sub-series was maintained; folders are arranged chronologically by year, with folder contents arranged chronologically by date. The Exhibition Planning series is arranged alphabetically.

Custodial History

This collection is owned by The Phillips Collection and was accessioned from the curators' offices.

Duncan Phillips Collects: Paris between the Wars exhibition records, 1905-1992
The Phillips Collection Library and Archives 1600 21st Street NW Washington D.C. 20009
Emily Hunter, UMD Graduate Student; Supervised by Karen Schneider, Librarian
February 2010 – May 2010
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Phillips Collection Archives Repository

1600 21st St. NW
Washington DC 20009 United States