Arts

The High’s European Art Curator On ‘Masterworks:’ 75 works, 75 highlights

"European Masterworks: The Phillips Collection" is on view at the High Museum of Art from April 6 through July 14.
"European Masterworks: The Phillips Collection" is on view at the High Museum of Art from April 6 through July 14.
Credit Courtney Kueppers / WABE

The High Museum’s curator of European Art, Claudia Einecke tells “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes that she can’t pick out a favorite from the museum’s “European Masterworks” exhibit, which features works from Picasso, Daumier, Bonnard and many more.

“75 works in the exhibition, 75 highlights!” she laughs.

The pieces are from The Phillips Collection in Washington D.C, which is comprised of some of the greatest European masterworks of 19th and early 20th century art. They are usually housed in a beautiful mansion that belonged to its namesake, Duncan Phillips. With the museum in D.C. closed for renovation, several of its masterpieces are travelling, and Atlanta is among the few destinations for the exhibit.

(See some of the works on display here.)

The Phillips’ were idiosyncratic collectors, with a penchant for grouping disparate works to highlight their common elements, a move that Einecke has worked to recreate at the High.

“In his installations, he liked to make unusual juxtapositions,” she says. “So he would put works from different time periods and different styles next to each other.”

“He felt that if they were really good, you could put them together and they would be meaningful and interesting,” Einecke explains. “And he would want you as a visitor to look at these unusual, surprising juxtapositions and think about what kind of visual aesthetic connections there might be, whether it’s intensity of color or emotional expression or theme. But inviting a more active engaged kind of experience of the works of art.”

“European Masterworks: The Phillips Collection” is on view at the High Museum of Art from April 6 through July 14.