Introduction


At the turn of the 19th century, a tightly knit group of New York artists immersed themselves in Life's Pleasures. They frequented seedy bars and dined at fine restaurants. They smoked cigars ringside at prizefights and gasped at daring tightrope acts under the big tent. They strolled the park with women shaded by parasols, and they waxed poetic while canoeing in the lake. These artists—with quick brush strokes and saturated palettes—painted what they lived. The DIA brings you the exhibition Life's Pleasures, featuring 80 paintings depicting vibrant and diverse leisure activities, as experienced by American artists known collectively as the Ashcan school.