Luncheon of the Boating Party: The Reality Show

Photos from Elaine and Dick Van Blerkom's scrapbook to commemorate Dick's 1980s birthday themed after the 1880s Luncheon of the Boating Party.

Arguably one of the finest paintings at The Phillips Collection, Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party portrays a lavish gathering of Renoir’s contemporaries and colleagues for a pleasant midday meal. The work is inspiring in its subject matter, its scale, and its technique, so much so that it moved Elaine and Dick Van Blerkom to recreate their own luncheon on the C&O Canal in full period costume (hear about their first encounter with the painting on a first date to the Phillips in 1963 in their “Love Stories” video below).

The Smithsonian’s Food & Think blog has these DIY tips for an idyllic Renoir-inspired luncheon.

By all means, come and study Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party at the Phillips as a guide for your next gathering, but please note, parasols will be checked at the door.

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