Reggie was livin' the dream that night. Well, at least his dream at this stage of his life . . .
|Sitting Room, ca. 1820, by Johann Erdmann Hummel|
Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin
Okay, Hipsters, you can have your Meat Packing Districts, your Nolitas, your Chelseas, and your Williamsburgs. Reggie truffled his way through those gritty parts of town when he was younger, too. Now he is quite happy to be a boring, middle-aged investment banker living and frollicking in what you might consider to be the stuffy and dull old UES. And he's quite happy if you should feel that way, too, since that means there's more room for him and his kind right where he wants to be.
But I digress . . .
|The Family Circle, ca. 1830, by Emilius Bærentzen|
Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen
Our evening began with attending an opening cocktail party for a new exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where we were the fortunate guests of one of the museum's curators. It was for Rooms With a View: The Open Window in the 19th Century, a charming show of early nineteenth-century European paintings and drawings of interiors with views through windows. Most were painted by German, Scandinavian, and Baltic artists during the neo-classical and Biedermeier periods, and many are on loan from museums and collections in central Europe.
|View of Dresden, 1824, by Karl Gottfried Traugott Faber|
Dresden, Galerie Neue Meister
The paintings are intimately scaled and precisely and skillfully executed, and quite lovely to look at. They are a fascinating record of interiors and furnishings of early nineteenth-century continental Europe, including many of the artists' own studios or homes, and are well worth studying at length. This is not a show that one should breeze through—it merits close and careful observation. I plan on returning to see it again soon. I have already spent several hours reading its well-written, highly informative, and profusely illustrated catalogue so that I will be better informed when I return to see the paintings again. The curator of the show, Sabine Rewald of the Metropolitan, did a superb job. I highly recommend that you make plans to see the show, Dear Reader, as it is a not-to-be-missed, absolute gem.
|Interior from Amaliegade with the Artist's Brothers, ca. 1829|
by Wilhelm Bendz
The Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen
Afterwards, in need of more sustenance than visual stimulation, vodka, and cheese balls, we headed over to Swifty's, where Robert Caravaggi was kind enough to give us a table on the spur of the moment and without a reservation. The place was packed! As one often does at Swifty's, during dinner we fell into a pleasant conversation with a couple sitting at the next table to ours (the tables are very close together at the restaurant, so one is rather cheek-to-jowel with one's neighbors). They were quite jolly and chatty, and we had a delightful time speaking with them.
|Interior with Young Woman Tracing a Flower, ca. 1820-1822|
by Louise-Adéone Drolling
Saint Louis Art Museum
Looking around the room, I noticed that David Patrick Columbia of New York Social Diary was also there, so I stopped by his table and said hello to him and his guest. On our way out we passed James Andrew of What Is James Wearing?, whose blog I am a regular reader of and who is a sometime commenter on mine. We stopped and introduced ourselves to him and his dining companion, and they couldn't have been nicer.
We had a lovely evening!
|View from the Artist's Studio in the Alservorstadt|
toward Dernbach, 1836, by Jakob Alt
And to top it off, the next morning we were invited to a cocktail party by the couple we sat next to at dinner at Swifty's, and with whom we exchanged contact information at the end of the evening. We were delighted that they invited us to their party and that we were able to attend it, and we had an absolutely marvelous time at it.
One does so adore living the life in New York . . .
|The exhibition's catalogue|
Rooms With A View: The Open Window in the 19th Century
April 5 through July 4
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10028
All images taken from the show's catalogue, except for the final photograph, by Boy Fenwick