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American art takes over DC's Phillips Collection

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One of the great art patrons of the 20th century who built the nation's first modern art museum in Washington is offering a broad new look at the evolution of American art through a collector's eye beginning 100 years ago.
A new exhibit, "Made in the U.S.A.," opens Saturday and has taken over most of The Phillips Collection for the next six months after returning home from a tour in Europe, Japan and several U.S. cities. It draws from the extensive collection Duncan Phillips amassed during his life and includes 202 artworks by more than 100 artists, ranging from Winslow Homer to Mark Rothko.
The show offers a sight at how Phillips methodically invested in art for the nation's capital to help lift American artists out of obscurity in the early 20th century.
Curators selected works from 1850 to 1970, ranging from realism and impressionism to modern life and abstract expressionism. Works by Thomas Eakins, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O'Keeffe and Edward Hopper are shown among their contemporaries, arranged by themes.
"If you step back 100 years, there were no textbooks of modern art," said curator Susan Behrends Frank. "There wasn't anything that said this artist is more important than this artist. (Phillips) was trying to understand each of these artists on their own, knowing that ... he might be proven wrong."
So the group of more than 200 pieces includes both familiar names and less recognized artists.


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