Sara & Gerald Murphy picnic in Antibes

Sara & Gerald Murphy picnic in Antibes

Villa America, Sara and Gerald Murphy’s home in Antibes looked down on a beach called La Garoupe, where they spread oriental carpets on the sand and drank wine and cold Veuve Cliquot. They were prodigious drinkers but what they ate is a mystery. During the 1920s,...
John Banville picnic in The Sea

John Banville picnic in The Sea

John Manville’s The Sea is about a man’s untrustworthy memories—less about his dying wife, and more about his sexual awakening when he was about eleven years old. Looking back, Max Morden realizes that his observations of the Grace family’s beach picnics “changed his...
Samuel Beckett’s murderous picnic in Malone Dies

Samuel Beckett’s murderous picnic in Malone Dies

Time and details in Beckett’s Malone Dies are contradictory and often obscure. Events of the narrative are especially confusing, especially as it reaches a bloody climax that ends with a picnic where six people are hacked to death. This event is related by the...
Tony Ray-Jones’ Picnic at Glyndebourne

Tony Ray-Jones’ Picnic at Glyndebourne

Tony Ray-Jones’ attitude towards life was to expose its “gentle madness” and “to walk, like Alice, though a Looking-Glass, and find another kind of world with the camera.” He preferred to photograph situations that are “ambiguous and unreal, and the juxtaposition of...
Ron Howard’s Nerdish Picnic in A Beautiful Mind

Ron Howard’s Nerdish Picnic in A Beautiful Mind

Ron Howard’s fictional (and sentimental) A Beautiful Mind is a biography of John Nash, a Nobel Prize winning mathematician. If Nash ever picnicked, his (factual) biographer Sylvia Nasar doesn’t mention it. Undeterred, Howard invents a lovers’ picnic at which Nash...
Samuel Pepys’ “Frolique” is a Picnic

Samuel Pepys’ “Frolique” is a Picnic

Samuel Pepys’ “frolique” is our picnic was a favorite way for him to spend an afternoon with friends idling. We know this from his Diary, a frank glimpse of his personal and professional lives, begun when he was thirty-seven, and continued for the next decade. Among...
Gustave Courbet’s  Le Repas de Chasse

Gustave Courbet’s Le Repas de Chasse

Courbet hugely enjoyed the hunt, and at the center of Le Repas de Chasse, he painted himself nearly life-size. Believing himself an embodiment of the hunter, who he considered embodying the spirit of liberty, “un homme libre,” he was proud of his skill, once bragging...
Walker Evan’s picnic with Robert Lowell and Caroline Blackwood

Walker Evan’s picnic with Robert Lowell and Caroline Blackwood

When Walker Evan photographed Robert Lowell and Caroline Blackwood picnicking on the grass, he was aware of the couple’s tension. He wrote to a friend, “I think they do a lot for each other, and it is a great pleasure to see.” But hinting there was more to tell,...
Fish Fry Picnics in The Green Pastures

Fish Fry Picnics in The Green Pastures

Broadway audiences ignored issues of racial stereotyping in The Green Pastures, Marc Connelly’s dramatization of Roark Bradford’s Ol’ Man Adam. * How charming to see African American angels with white wings dressed in brightly colored robes preparing for their eternal...
Dreiser’s horrid picnic in An American Tragedy

Dreiser’s horrid picnic in An American Tragedy

Years after, Chester Gillette clubbed Grace Brown with a tennis racquet and left her to drown in Moose Lake, New York, Theodore Dreiser came upon the story and recreated it as An American Tragedy. The real murder had no picnic but Dreiser’s unacknowledged fictional...