It's homecoming weekend for "The Luncheon of the Boating Party."
Pierre Auguste Renoir's masterwork and 74 of its fellow residents are back at the Phillips Collection after a 20-month cross- country tour. The exhibition, "Impressionism and the Modern Vision: Master Paintings from the Phillips Collection," opens Friday on the first and second floors of the new building; "Luncheon" will be back in its usual spot in the intimate corner room upstairs.
Apparently, folks in the hinterlands drooled. The five-city tour raised more than $700,000 for the museum and was seen by almost half a million people -- as many as see the works in five years at the Phillips. The show inspired a live tableau of Renoir's "Luncheon" in Oklahoma City, was emulated in Impressionist shopping-mall designs in Minneapolis and prompted 4,500 people in Dallas to get out their checkbooks and become museum members.
Besides the Renoir, other favorites welcomed back this week include Pierre Bonnard's wildly colorful "The Palm," Paul Cezanne's staring self-portrait, Honor,e Daumier's heroic "The Uprising," Degas' hazy "Dancers at the Bar," Van Gogh's swirling blue-and-yellow "Entrance to the Public Gardens in Arles," El Greco's devotional "The Repentant Peter," Ingres' "The Small Bather" with her back turned and Picasso's woman attending to her bath in "The Blue Room."
All are on view during the museum's normal hours, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 to 5; Sunday 2 to 7. Tours of the permanent collection begin this week, leaving from the front entrance on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2.
On Wednesday, the Phillips opens "Vilhelm Hammershoi: Painter of Stillness and Light." The 72 paintings and drawings by the modern Danish artist, most taking the meager northern light as their subject, will remain on view through March 27 as part of the continuing "Scandinavia Today" celebration. MASTER PAINTINGS from the Phillips Collection. VILHELM HAMMERSHOI, at the Phillips Collection, 1600 21st Street NW.