Friday, March 30, 2012
Fine Arts Friday: Breakfast
The Breakfast Table by John Singer Sargent, 1883.
(As always, click on the paintings to get a better view.)
Not everyone's breakfast is as elegant as that shown in Sargent's painting of his sister Violet engrossed in a book at the breakfast table. Roses, good silver, cloth napkins in napkin rings, a silver coffee pot on a white tablecloth. Nevertheless, a leisurely breakfast in pleasant surroundings can be a real pleasure no matter what the fare.
The Gilchrist family breakfast is more typical of our image of the family breakfast: not in such elegant surroundings, with slightly grim parents, and children who are well behaved but subdued--the atmosphere is not carefree. The painter, the son of a famous Philadelphia conductor and composer, must have usually sat in the empty seat at the head of the table there.
The Gilchrist Family Breakfast by William Wallace Gilchrist, Jr., 1916
But often at breakfast, people are anxious to get on their way and are not attuned to those around them. The social image of breakfast begins to disintegrate, and breakfast begins to look and more like a dining bustop rather than the first gathering of the family.
The Breakfast by William MacGregor Paxton, 1911
At the Breakfast Table by Norman Rockwell, 1930
Of course, no self-respecting child or adolescent wants to hang around the breakfast table for long.
Cottage Interior by Berthe Morisot, 1886. That's her daughter Julie edging toward the garden.
Breakfast at Berneval by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1898
To keep children engaged in breakfast, when time and weather permit, it is always fun to move the meal outdoors.
Breakfast on the Piazza by Edmund Tarbel, 1902
The Open Air Breakfast by William Merritt Chase, 1888
A leisurely and quiet breakfast in beautiful surroundings would seem to be a luxury in today's world, except for some on Sundays. I hazard a guess that in the long run it pays to make breakfast each day as lovely and inviting as possible, as this mother has done,
Illustration from Bright April by Marguerite di Angeli, 1946
or even if one is eating alone.
Breakfast in the Garden by Frederick Frieseke, 1911