The Phillips Collection, America's first museum of modern art
Please Note: This tour has a rescheduled date (originally May 24, 2020).
Washington’s grand public museums aren’t the only places to see outstanding art: There are treasures to be found in any number of smaller-scaled private collections. Visit two of the most interesting museums that reflect of the tastes and visions of their founders when you spend the day exploring Glenstone in suburban Potomac and the venerable Phillips Collection with art historian Ursula Wolfman.
After re-opening in the fall of 2018 after a significant and innovative expansion, Glenstone was dubbed “the new must-see museum” by the Washington Post. Mitchell and Emily Rales have assembled a collection of works by artists who have come to international prominence since World War II, housed in both the museum’s original Charles Gwathmey-designed exhibition space and the more recent 204,000-square-foot gallery called the Pavilions. Gardens on the 230-acre estate include an extensive sculpture park featuring pieces by Richard Serra and Ellsworth Kelly, among others.
Glenstone’s art is showcased in intimate groupings that spotlight works by individual artists, offering a concentrated and close-up viewing experience during self-guided gallery visits. After lunch at Glenstone’s café, featuring a locally sourced seasonal menu, head to Dupont Circle to view another museum founded by an art-collecting couple.
The Philips Collection, opened in 1921, grew from the holdings of Duncan and Marjorie Phillips, whose interests encompassed impressionist works and the developing art of the early-20th century. A guided tour of the galleries provides context for the museum’s history and collection, which now includes 4,000 works ranging from masterpieces of French impressionism and American modernism to contemporary art. A pair of current exhibitions explore the artistic connections among Duncan Phillips, painter Arthur Dove, and gallery dealer and photographer Alfred Stieglitz, and trace a how the Phillips realized its founder’s goal of “an intimate museum combined with an experiment station” over the course of a century.
The tour involves extensive walking on outdoor trails at Glenstone; comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*
*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.
“The expansion of Glenstone— with its modern masterpieces complemented by natural beauty and fresh, energetic architecture—is a blueprint for a new kind of museum experience”. —The Washington Post
Get a preview of that experience in a digital tour of Glenstone’s stunning campus.
Departs from the Holiday Inn Capitol at
550 C St SW (corner of 6th & C Sts)
No fringe stop on this tour