Best Birthday Parties in Art History for Our 5th Birthday

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DailyArt Magazine is turning 5 this year! I cannot believe how far we have come since 2016 when I, a university student interning for DailyArt, wrote my first articles about asparagus and Father’s day. Initially, we were a blog, an extension of DailyArt App, but from a small Polish team we have grown into an international community and we have become a serious art magazine. I cannot express how proud I am of our readers and writers, thanks to you we’re still here and growing! Let’s celebrate this special day together with the best birthday parties from art history!

A Flying Birthday Party

Marc Chagall, The Birthday, 1915, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA. birthday parties art
Marc Chagall, The Birthday, 1915, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA.

The act of floating is Marc Chagall‘s expression of pure joy and I think we all can relate to this feeling, when we’re so happy that our feet seem not to touch the ground anymore as we walk because we are so light. Our bodies are filled with vibrant, vital energy and we feel we can do anything while the world around just smiles at us. The grey walls of the apartment cannot contain us, because the energy is within us, as red as the floor. A simple home-made cake and a bouquet of flowers are enough to make us fly if made with love by our loved ones. Chagall painted this work a few weeks before his marriage to Bella, and no doubt was he then the happiest man on Earth.

Family Birthday Parties

John Singer Sargent, The Birthday Party, 1887, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN, USA. birthday parties art
John Singer Sargent, The Birthday Party, 1887, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN, USA.

Who doesn’t remember their family birthdays with paper hats and blowing out candles? I hope you all had the experience of Robert, the eldest son of French artist Albert Besnard and his wife, sculptor Charlotte Dubray. Robert is turning 6 (can you count the candles?) and he’s intently watching the flames on the cake. Our attention, however, is directed to Charlotte whose wonderfully red dress corresponds to the crimson walls. Albert’s figure is the darkest element in the painting and his mustache stands out from his blurred face, bridging us with the fish element on an Asian lampshade in the upper-righthand corner. The decorations suggest the family’s upper social status and their contemporary taste for Oriental art.

William Powell Frith, Many Happy Returns of the Day, Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate, UK. birthday parties art
William Powell Frith, Many Happy Returns of the Day, Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate, UK.

Family birthday parties can also be much bigger events when all aunts and uncles and cousins come and visit. This is what happened to Alice, Frith’s daughter, who is seated in the place of honor, marked with a large wreath stuck to the back of her chair. Everyone is busy doing something and I can imagine that this afternoon tea might have lasted into evening hours.

A School Birthday Party

Norman Rockwell, Teacher's Birthday Party, 1956, private collection. The Saturday Evening Post. birthday parties art
Norman Rockwell, Teacher’s Birthday Party, 1956, private collection. The Saturday Evening Post.

The most delightful surprise for any teacher (I know what I’m saying, I work at a school)! The smile of Miss Jones says everything, she didn’t expect the oranges and small sweets on her teacher’s desk. Norman Rockwell perfectly captured a piece of the 1950s, with its ironed clothes, simple desks, uncomfortable chairs, and chalkboards.

A House Birthday Party

Jacqueline Fahey, The Birthday Party, 1974, Victoria University of Wellington Art Collection, Wellington, New Zealand. birthday parties art
Jacqueline Fahey, The Birthday Party, 1974, Victoria University of Wellington Art Collection, Wellington, New Zealand.

Jacqueline Fahey has been representing the people in her life for over seven decades, portraying the relationships that connect them. She often paints suburban life, school balls, dinner parties, afternoon teas. She expresses the nostalgia that we all may sometimes feel, remembering our grannies, moms, or dads who prepared the piñata, the candies, and the games for us and our friends from school. The tired face of the woman suggests the kids have been loud for way too long but she is too tired to say a word.

Birthday Parties Mean Presents

John William Godward, His Birthday Gift, 1889, private collection.
John William Godward, His Birthday Gift, 1889, private collection. Artnet.

John William Godward was a protégé of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, but with the rise of modern art, his neo-classical style became obsolete. Nevertheless, his graceful ladies and pampered interiors transport the viewer into an imaginary world of elegant ladies and generous men who give them valuable bracelets. Of course, presents do not need to be expensive to be precious, as demonstrated by Calder’s work below. The tiny toys that fit into the box are made in his characteristic mobile fashion. Receiving such a gift must be a magic moment, when an artist makes an artwork specially for you.

Alexander Calder, Untitled (Louisa's 43rd birthday present), 1948, Calder Foundation, New York, NY, USA.
Alexander Calder, Untitled (Louisa’s 43rd birthday present), 1948, Calder Foundation, New York, NY, USA.

On this birthday day I want to make you, our readers, feel special. Please, remember, we bring you art every day because we treasure you. You are special to us!


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Best Birthday Parties in Art History for Our 5th Birthday was first posted on July 13, 2021 at 5:00 pm.
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