In the Summerhouse

  • George Tooker, In the Summerhouse, 1958, egg tempera on fiberboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Sara Roby Foundation, 1986.6.100

Exhibition Label
Like his friends Paul Cadmus and Bernard Perlin, Tooker painted in egg tempura. In the Summerhouse shows two young women surrounded by a lattice framework. The Japanese lanterns they hold cast a warm light on their arms and faces. The nocturnal scene is gentle, the serene enclosure a refuge from the night.

Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection, 2014
Luce Center Label

In the Summerhouse was inspired by George Tooker’s memories of family celebrations on the Fourth of July. In the evening, all of the children were given bright Japanese lanterns to hang around the garden, and Tooker described the effect as “very magical.” Here, the geometric shapes in the wooden trellis contrast with the soft curves of the paper lights and the figures. The subdued light and warm colors create an intimate, dreamlike scene, as the figures choose where to place their glowing lanterns. (Garver, George Tooker, 1985)

Luce Object Quote

“I am after painting reality impressed on the mind so hard that it returns as a dream, but I am not after painting dreams as such, or fantasy.” Tooker, quoted in Rodman, Conversations with Artists, 1957

In the Summerhouse
Not on view
24 x 24 in. (61.0 x 61.8 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of the Sara Roby Foundation

Mediums Description
egg tempera on fiberboard
  • Landscape – season – summer
  • Figure group – female
  • Object – furniture – lamp
  • Architecture Interior – domestic – house
  • Architecture – other – gazebo
  • Landscape – time – night
  • Object – other – lantern
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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