Curator Stacy C. Hollander talks to NYC-ARTS about the work “Rhoda Goodrich (Mrs. William Northrop) Bentley and Daughter” by Ammi Phillips, which is in the collection of the American Folk Art Museum.

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♪ NEXT, WE'LL VISIT THE AMERICAN FOLK ART MUSEUM LOCATED ACROSS FROM LINCOLN CENTER, IT IS ALSO REOPENED TO VISITORS.

SINCE 1961, THIS MUSEUM HAS BEEN SHOWCASING THE CREATIVITY OF ARTISTS WHOSE TALENTS HAVE BEEN REFINED THROUGH PERSONAL EXPERIENCE RATHER THAN THROUGH FORMAL ARTISTIC TRAINING.

ITS COLLECTION INCLUDES MORE THAN 8,000 WORKS OF ART FROM FOUR CENTURIES REPRESENTING NEARLY EVERY CONTINENT.

ONE OF THE MOST HIGHLY RECOGNIZED AMERICAN SELF-TAUGHT ARTISTS IS THE PORTRAIT PAINTER AMI PHILIPS.

PHILIPS WAS BORN IN 17 EIGHT IN CONNECT.

DURING HIS LIFETIME HE PAINTED FOR MORE THAN 55 YEARS.

TODAY WE ARE AWARE OF CLOSE TO 1,000 PORTRAITS PAINTED BY HIM.

IN THE PERIOD OF 1817 TO 1820 OR SO, HIS PORTRAITS ARE A VERY DREAMY, THEY'RE BEAUTIFUL PALETTES OF THESE SHIMMERING MUTED COLORS, MOSTLY THEY'RE VERY ESSENTIAL PORTRAITS, VERY PRODUCTIVE STRIPPED DOWN TO THE ESSENCE OF CONVEYING THE CHARACTER AND PERSONALITY OF WHOEVER WAS BEING PORTRAYED.

IN HIS PORTRAIT OF RHODA GOODRICH BENTLEY AND HER DAUGHTER MARIA LUISA PAINTED PROBABLY AROUND 1817, WE HAVE THE INCLUSION OF A FEW DETAILS THAT ARE SIGNIFICANT AND THAT ARE UNUSUAL IN PAR TRAITS BY PHILIPS -- PORTRAITS BY PHILIPS.

HER DAUGHTER IS HOLDING A SLICE OF WATERMELON AND SHE IS HOLDING A PIECE OF PLEATED COTTON.

WHICH MAY BE A REFERENCE TO, OF COURSE, THE COTTON PLANTATIONS IN THE SOUTH.

SO WE HAVE THIS PORTRAIT THAT INCLUDES THESE ELEMENTS THAT SEEM UNUSUAL FOR A MIDDLE CLASS FAMILY IN NEW YORK STATE AND THAT SEEM TO BE MAKING AN ILLUSION TO THIS VERY SERIOUS ISSUE OF SLAVERY THAT CLEARLY HAD GREAT MEANING FOR THIS FAMILY.

AMI PHILIPS PAINTED FOR MORE THAN 55 YEARS AND HIS STYLE UNDERWENT DRAMATIC CHANGES FROM ONE PERIOD TO ANOTHER.

MRS. BENTLEY WAS PAINTED AT THE HEIGHT OF WHAT WE CALL THE NEOCLASSICAL ERA, REFLECTING THE ROMANTICISM AND THE PALETTE ASSOCIATED WITH CLASSICAL ICONOGRAPHY AND FASHION, THE EMPIRE STYLE DRESSES.

BUT, BY THE 1830s, THERE WAS A VERY DIFFERENT AESTHETIC AT PLAY.

IT WAS MUCH HARDER EDGED.

IT WAS VERY CLEAR, VERY CLEARLY DEFINED.

THERE WERE MUCH DEEPER CONTRASTS OF COLOR.

THE AMERICAN FOLK ART MUSEUM HOLDS ONE OF PHILIPS' GREATEST MASTERPIECES IN ITS COLLECTIONS AND IT'S SIMPLY TITLED, GIRL IN RED DRESS WITH CAT AND DOG AND ITS THE BRILLIANCE OF THE RED AGAINST THE STARK BLACK BACKGROUND THAT SETS UP THESE JUXTAPOSITIONS THAT ARE TIMELESS AND BEAUTIFUL BUT VERY, VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE EARLIER PORTRAITS.