As early as 1936, Loren MacIver’s husband, poet Lloyd Frankenberg, urged Duncan Phillips to consider his wife’s work; however, it was not until 1949, after visiting her exhibition at Pierre Matisse Gallery, that Phillips decided to include a MacIver painting in his collection. In 1951, Phillips mounted a solo exhibition of her work at the museum, and from it he purchased his first MacIver painting, The Window Shade (1948). In 1965, Phillips held a second exhibition of MacIver’s work and purchased yet another painting of hers at the same time.
MacIver painted New York in 1952 and it was acquired by Phillips the following year. The image, an abstract vision of New York City at night, looks like an over-exposed photograph, where the shutter was left open to capture the swirling colors and lights of the city as the night wore on. MacIver’s electrified colors jump off the canvas and create a similar vibe to that of Manhattan’s frenetic atmosphere. MacIver has deftly imbued her canvas with vibrancy and palpable energy.