Félix Vallotton, Passerby, 1897.

Phillips Collection Acquires Major Collection of Nabi Art

The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, has acquired two print portfolios and more than forty paintings and works on paper of European Post-Impressionist art through a gift from Roger Sant and his late wife Vicki, a collector and donor who was the museum’s first non-family board chairwoman. Including works by Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Édouard Vuillard, and Félix Vallotton, the Sants’ collection of work by the Nabi group (whose name comes from the Hebrew word navi, meaning “prophet”) will be exhibited at the museum in October. 

“Embracing a new, liberating approach to art that valued the poetry of suggestion, the Nabi coalesced around a shared belief in art’s intimate ties to everyday life,” said Elsa Smithgall, senior curator at the Phillips Collection. “These visionary artists forged a new path in modern art that broke down the artificial barriers between the fine and applied arts.”

Dorothy Kosinski, director and CEO of the museum, said: “This gift from Vicki and Roger Sant is nothing short of transformative. Through the bequest, the Sants contribute mightily to the growth of our holdings and strengthen our role as a leading center for the research and presentation of late nineteenth-century European art.” The Sants have also made a major bequest to establish an endowment fund for the preservation, care, and study of their donation.