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Happy 125th Birthday to Duncan Phillips

June 26, 2011

Marjorie Phillips, Night Baseball, 1951. Oil on canvas, 24 1/4 x 36 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Gift of the artist 1951 or 1952.

In honor of Duncan Phillips’s birthday, let’s look at one of his favorite paintings by one of his favorite painters, Night Baseball by his wife, Marjorie Phillips.

Duncan and Marjorie loved baseball and the family had box seats for the Washington Senators behind the first-base dugout at Griffith Stadium. (This photo shows a view much like the one the family must have had.) In her book Duncan Phillips and his Collection, Marjorie humorously recounts a meeting with representatives of the Senators in which Duncan was offered part-ownership in the team. He appeared to seriously consider the offer and announced that he would be interested, would even sell the museum’s collection and purchase the whole team, on one condition: that he be made team manager and allowed to play second base. We are all grateful that his offer was not accepted.

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