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WAM Reading Group for Members

WAM Reading Group for Members

Join our newly established, interactive reading group for members and staff of the Worcester Art Museum! Each month, we will select one book (fiction or nonfiction) related to any aspect of visual arts to read and discuss together.

  • Weekly discussions will take place through a private Facebook group.
  • At the conclusion of the book, the Reading Group will meet live (via Zoom) for a final discussion.

Participation in the Facebook group discussions is optional, as is the final Zoom meeting. Participate in as much of the group as you wish!

To join the group, email Rebecca at rebeccamorin@worcesterart.org.

The next book we will be reading is The Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland. Weekly Facebook discussions will begin the week of July 6th. We will then meet via Zoom on Friday, August 14th at 5:30pm.

The book is available in many different formats such as ebook, print book, large print, audio book, and e-audio book. Check your local public libraries or your favorite place to shop for books.

“The Luncheon of the Boating Party” book cover

"In her fourth art-related historical, Vreeland provides an in-depth look at one of Renoir's most famous paintings (its name is her novel's title). Maison Fournaise, on the Seine outside of Paris, is one of Renoir's favorite haunts. One July day in 1880, the 39-year-old artist is at the restaurant/hotel/boat rental when he reads a Zola essay critical of the Impressionists. It goads him into action. He will paint a scene of boaters on the upper terrace, a wide canvas work that will surpass his Montmartre spectacle Bal au Moulin de la Galette. But time is short and money is tight. He has just two months to take advantage of the summer light. He must find money for paints, for modeling fees and for eight Sunday luncheons for his group. The female models must be women he could love. Alphonsine and Ang'le are naturals; the former is the owner's daughter, the latter a bawdy child of Montmartre; both women glow with vitality. He adds the self-styled Circe, beautiful but temperamental, foisted on him by a salon hostess; she will provoke a crisis when she quits, refusing to be done in profile. Renoir finds a miraculous replacement in Aline, a 19-year-old seamstress he will marry, years later. There are other model problems: One man is involved in a duel; there is constant anxiety over the total number (13 must be avoided). Vreeland maintains the suspense while skillfully providing context. The traumas of the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune are only ten years distant; Alphonsine is a war widow, a male model is a wounded veteran. The politics of the art world are unremitting; the once-cohesive Impressionists are now split three ways. Degas mocks Renoir for seeing life through rose-colored glasses; too bad. Joyful conviviality is as valid as squalor. The finished product affirms Renoir's credo: Art was love made visible. Vreeland's love for Renoir is made palpable in this brilliant reconstruction." — Kirkus Reviews (2007)