January 15th marked the 90th anniversary of the Phillips Collection, an art museum near Dupont Circle. The Phillips was America’s first museum of modern art, and houses works from Renoir and Rothko, Bonnard and O’Keeffe, van Gogh and Diebenkorn, among many others. I first visited the museum in 1996, on a trip to DC with my Uncle Ron, Aunt Bev, and cousin Andrew. Bev loves Renoir’s The Luncheon of the Boating Party, one of the most popular pieces in the collection.
The museum has been closed due to repairs being made after a fire last September. To celebrate the double occasion – reopening and anniversary – the Phillips opened their doors for free all weekend and served champagne in the cafe. I visited with my friends Alycyn and Curtis. We froze in line for 45 minutes, but it was well worth it. We saw some pieces from the permanent collection, as well as temporary exhibitions, which included artwork from Oberlin College. A new addition to the collection, Howard Hodgkin’s As Time Goes By
After exploring the multiple rooms of art, we made our way to the birthday cake display. Prominent chefs from around the district designed cakes to represent the various works of art in the collection. The cakes were displayed for a week and visitors were given the opportunity to vote for their favorite. Chef Chris Kujala of RIS won with a pecan butterscotch cake. The first runner-up was a spicy ginger cake designed by Peter Bret of Blue Duck Tavern. Chef Bret was inspired by Matisse’s Interior With Egyptian Curtain. (Second-runner up was a quark torte by 1789’s pastry chef, Travis Olson. His cake was a replica of Paul Klee’s piece, The Way to the Citadel. Although I didn’t vote, these cakes were definitely my three favorites.