In the Summerhouse

Media - 1986.6.100 - SAAM-1986.6.100_2 - 135134
Copied George Tooker, In the Summerhouse, 1958, egg tempera on fiberboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Sara Roby Foundation, 1986.6.100

Artwork Details

In the Summerhouse
Not on view
2424 in. (61.061.8 cm.)
Credit Line
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

Artwork Description

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


Media - 1986.6.100 - SAAM-1986.6.100_2 - 135134
Modern American Realism: Highlights from the Sara Roby Foundation Collection
October 20, 2018November 28, 2018
This exhibition presents some of the most treasured paintings and sculpture from SAAM’s permanent collection, including artworks by Will Barnet, Isabel Bishop, Paul Cadmus, Edward Hopper, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Jacob Lawrence, George Tooker, among others.