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Zum Brauhaus

Artist
George Biddle, 24 Jan 1885 - 6 Nov 1973
Probably
Yasuo Kuniyoshi, 1889 - 1953
Sitter
Hélène Sardeau, 1899 - 1969
Henry McBride, 25 Jul 1867 - 31 Mar 1962
Peggy Bacon, 2 May 1895 - 4 Jan 1987
George Ehrenfried Grosz, 26 Jul 1893 - 6 Jul 1959
Date
1933
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Frame: 97 × 122.4 × 6.4 cm (38 3/16 × 48 3/16 × 2 1/2")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
© Estate of George Biddle
Object number
NPG.87.241
Exhibition Label
Speakeasies, or illegal bars, sprang up in New York City during the Prohibition era (1920–1933), becoming favorite hangouts for many artists. The painter George Biddle peppered his diaries with accounts of late-night sessions at various underground establishments, where he and his artist friends met to drink, smoke, and argue about art. In 1933, as Prohibition neared its end, Biddle painted a series of speakeasy scenes, often including witty portraits of colleagues. Here, he depicts an evening at Zum Brauhaus. Biddle’s wife, sculptor Hélène Sardeau (1899–1969), sits beside the pipe smoking painter Yasuo Kuniyoshi (1889–1953). The caricaturist Peggy Bacon (1895–1987) smokes a ciga rette at far right, while her husband, artist Alexander Brook (1898–1980), stands at the bar behind her. While working on this series, Biddle lobbied government officials to adopt his plan for employing painters during the Depression—an idea that ulti mately became the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
Durante la era de la ley seca (1920–1933) apare cieron en la ciudad de Nueva York los bares ilegales llamados speakeasies, sitios de reunión favoritos de muchos artistas. El pintor George Biddle relató en su diario diversas veladas en estos lugares donde él y sus amigos artistas se reunían para beber, fumar y hablar de arte. En 1933, hacia el final de la ley seca, Biddle pintó una serie de escenas de speakeasies donde solía incluir retratos ingeniosos de sus colegas. Aquí muestra una velada en Zum Brauhaus. La esposa de Biddle, la escultora Hélène Sardeau (1899–1969), está sentada junto al pintor Yasuo Kuniyoshi (1889–1953), que sostiene una pipa. La caricaturista Peggy Bacon (1895–1987) aparece a la extrema derecha con un cigarrillo, y su esposo, el artista Alexander Brook (1898–1980), está de pie junto al bar detrás de ella. Mientras trabajaba en esta serie, Biddle cabildeó ante el gobierno para que adoptara su plan de emplear artistas durante la Gran Depresión, idea que culminó más tarde en la creación de la Adminis tración para el Progreso de Obras Públicas (WPA).
Provenance
The artist; his estate handled by (D. Wigmore Fine Art, Inc., New York); purchased 1987 NPG
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection