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About Contributors

Amanda Jirón-Murphy
In-Gallery Interpretation and Public Programs Coordinator

Do you have a favorite quote?
Sous les paves, la plage! (“Underneath the paving stones–the beach!”)
It was a late ‘60’s protest slogan in France, and to me it means that creativity, energy, and discovery are always present in even the most staid and structured environments.

What’s on the menu for your last meal?
It will be a multi-course affair, one course being a truffle risotto and an exquisite glass of champagne.

What three things do you always have with you?
A camera (my new year’s resolution), lip balm, and a sense of adventure.

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Sandy Lee
IT Support Specialist

What’s your prized possession?
My sense of humor, or so I’m told.

What’s your favorite way to spend spare time?
Ice hockey, preferably playing, watching live, watching televised, streamed, you name it.

What’s your favorite spot in the city?
Verizon Center during a Capitals game, but a CLOSE SECOND is The Phillips Collection!

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Meg Clark
Program Coordinator, Center for the Study of Modern Art

Favorite quote:
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”  – R.W.Emerson

Three things I always have with me:
Moleskine notebook
Blackberry – takes surprisingly good photos!
Photograph of my father

What Phillips Collection work is special to you and why
Pierre Bonnard’s Woman with Dog (1922). This scene is perfectly playful and intimate (and a quintessential dachshund-owner moment, at least in my home): the dog staring at the crumbs on the plate in front of the woman with such dachshund-determination, and the woman looking at the dog looking at the crumbs. She holds the dog close enough to be either purposefully restraining or lovingly teasing, and you can nearly feel the dog’s desire to sneak a bite. Having a miniature dachshund with quite the personality, I can’t help but giggle whenever I see this work. Bonnard captures perfectly that faithful companionship of dachshunds and their owners, especially the need to be close to one another in everyday activity – a sensibility I share – in many of his interiors.

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Sarah Osborne Bender
Cataloguing and Technical Services Librarian

Do you have a personal motto?
Solvitur ambulando (It is solved by walking.)

What Phillips Collection work is special to you and why?
The Road Menders, 1889 by Vincent van Gogh. My husband and I visited Saint-Rémy-de-Provence early one November. I had fallen in love with the plane trees we had been seeing all over the region, taking many photos of them. The town of Saint-Rémy was filled with dappled sunlight filtering down through the lacy canopy of the plane tree’s large yellow leaves. One morning, entering the center of town on the Boulevard Marceau, we were stunned by a dramatic change- the trees had been pruned for winter. Now they were cropped, with twisted branches ending suddenly at knobby joints thrusting into an open blue sky. The town was evenly filled with winter light, like the parasol over the Boulevard had been put away for the season. This painting brings me back to that experience every time.

What’s your favorite spot in the city?
The dance floor at Back Alley, circa 1994.

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Klaus Ottmann
Director of the Center for the Study of Modern Art and Curator at Large

Do you have a favorite quote?
“Ethics and aesthetics are one.” Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tracatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921)

What Phillips Collection work is special to you and why?
The Rothko Room because in it one can feel the breath of the invisible world.

What’s your favorite way to spend spare time?
Listening to Paul Lewis’s performances of Beethoven’s piano sonatas.

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Rolf Rykken
Part-time Museum Assistant,
Former full-time office visitors receptionist

Do you have a favorite quote?
Paraphrasing writer Jeanette Winterson: “The [artist] should refuse all definitions; of herself, and of her work, and remember that whether her work sells or whether it doesn’t, whether it is loved or it is not, it is the same piece of work. Reaction cannot alter what is [painted]. And what is [painted] is the [artist’s] true home.”

What Phillips Collection work is special to you and why?

Many of the works are special to me, but what really rings is the unique approach to collection hangings and how in what has to be Duncan and Marjorie-inspired: the works bounce off  each other through color, design, type. A perfect example was an exhibit in Gallery 116, where Elizabeth Murray’s gigantic oil on varied wood panels, The Sun and the Moon (2004-2005), shot out at 12 other varied chiefly abstract works in the large gallery – first to Henri Matisse’s Interior with Egyptian Curtain (1948) directly across from Murray with its similar forms and basic colors. You could see relations among all the paintings to the Murray or just focus on individual perfect pairings – Wassily Kandinsky’s Autumn II (1912), with its diagonal forms, blots, and vaguely recognizable building forms with Arthur Dove’s Flour Mill II (1938), with its similar colors in straighter lines. In the string of Paul Klee works before you return to The Sun and the Moon, you could stand at the comparatively tiny Efflorescence (1937), with its orange daisy-like form in the middle and two other orange dabs below it and look to the right to Murray’s large orange color.

What ‘s your favorite way to spend spare time?

Now that I’m retired from fulltime work, I enjoy doing NOTHING. But also getting to spend more time with my doggie-daughter, Samantha (Sammie), another in a line of English Springer Spaniels, who loves the fountain at Dupont Circle and running around Montrose Park north of Georgetown.

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Brooke Rosenblatt
Manager of Public Programs and In-Gallery Interpretation

Do you have a favorite quote?

I often find myself quoting Shel Silverstein’s poems. One that keeps coming up for me since I recently had a baby is called The Sitter: Mrs. McTwitter was the baby-sitter/I think she’s a little bit crazy./ She thinks a baby-sitter’s supposed/To sit upon the baby.

What Phillips Collection work is special to you and why?

I am drawn to the sense of mystery in Delacroix’s Paganini (1831). When the painting was first introduced to me, one of my professors said something I’ve never forgotten, “Delacroix makes Paganini seem like a soul that met a body by accident.”

What three things do you always have with you?

Memories (mostly good!), a sense of balance, and a photo of my son

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Paul Ruther
Manager of Teacher Programs

What’s on the menu for your last meal?
Crabcakes and beer.

What Phillips Collection work is special to you and why?
There are so many, but I think Paul Klee’s Picture Album because it’s a mystery, appears ancient and was created during a time of personal tragedy when he overcame a debilitating illness.

What’s your favorite way to spend spare time?
Hiking in the mountains.
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Karen Schneider
Librarian

Do you have a favorite quote?
To paraphrase Kafka, Art chops the frozen sea within us.

What is your favorite way to spend spare time?
Experimenting with a new recipe.

What’s your prized posession?
I’m very fond of several things that were purchased a cross country trip when I was 11 years old and obsessed with Native American culture including a Hopi Kachina doll, a Cheyenne beaded medicine bag and a Cherokee basket.
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C O N S E R V A T I O N

Patricia Favero
Conservation Fellow

What Phillips Collection work is special to you and why?
The Shower, a later work by Georges Braque, to me is pure artistic inspiration.  It is thinly painted over a fragment of an earlier work, possibly a 1930’s still life, and has the feeling of a vaguely recalled and desperately recorded memory.

What ‘s your favorite way to spend spare time?
Anything where I’m learning something new and I get to be messy.

What’s your favorite spot in the city?
Does the Billy Goat Trail count?

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Illustration of a camera

B L O G   P H O T O G R A P H E R S

  • Sue Ahn

Museum Assistant

Do you have a personal motto?
Flying like a butterfly,  sting like a bee.

What’s on the menu for your last meal?
Sweet potato/salad/whole wheat pasta/ protein drink.

What three things do you always have with you?
Camera name tag/ camera lens cleaning cloth/ camera flash light

  • Kate Boone

Admissions/Museum Assistant

What’s on the menu for your last meal?
Pizza

What’s your favorite spot in the city?
Sitting on the aqua ducts in Georgetown.

What historical figure do you most identify with?
Eddie Sedgwick

  • Joshua Navarro

Museum Assistant

Do you have a favorite quote?
“Showing off is the fool’s idea of glory.” – Bruce Lee

What’s on the menu for your last meal?
Rib eye steak with white rice next to a cold tea.

What three things do you always have with you?
An appetite, rhythm, and my glasses.

  • Claire Norman [former blog photographer]

Museum Assistant

Do you have a favorite quote?
“Life isn’t about finding yourself, Life is about creating yourself” -Bernard Shaw

What’s on the menu for your last meal?
A chili cheese hot dog

Do you have a personal motto?
Love is better with cookies.

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Isabelle Spicer
Volunteer

What Phillips Collection work is special to you and why?

My favorite work is the Blue Room by Picasso. But other works are special to me for other reasons: Pierre Bonnard’s work for instance. He was born in Fontenay-Aux-Roses, the city where I grew up. When I was 10, my friend lived in a street named Pierre Bonnard. I remember wondering who was this Pierre Bonnard? That was before internet so I could not check at that time. Also, there is another work my Nicolas de Stael called Parc de Sceaux, which is a park in the city nearby. Somehow, reading these so familiar names on labels of an American museum reminds me of home and my childhood.

What’s your prized possession?

My books! When we moved to Washington we had to do an inventory and we have about 2000 books – half mine, half my husband’s. The moving company told us only Embassies’ cultural attachés had so many books.

What’s on the menu for your last meal?

Boeuf bourguignon, prepared by my husband according to Julia Child’s recipe. I am French but strangely enough it is my – Canadian – husband who is reviving the French culinary tradition at home!

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