The Camera Club’s Annual Dinners

Posted by on Dec 30, 2011 in harlan erskine | No Comments

This time of year, there are many holiday events. Every era celebrates a little differently. The year after the Camera Club of New York merged with the Society of Amateur Photographers, the club was in full swing. With its membership at a peek of over 330 annual and lifetime members, the Club was a buzz of social activities and artistic production.

In May of 1896, the Camera Club of New York held their first dinner of record at the Brevoort House. This would be the first formal dinner for the newly merged club (The Society of Amateur Photographers and the New York Camera Club merged to create The Camera Club of New York in 1886).

The Brevoort House was located close to Washington Square and next door to the future home of Mark Twain. The Brevoort was later photographed by Berenice Abbott and included in her seminal work, Changing New York (see above).

The dining room might have looked something like the Byron Company photo to the right. Included in the Camera Club’s archives is a handsome invite to this early social gathering. The iconic Washington Arch in Washington Square was completed in 1895. The Camera Club’s invite to this dinner prominently displays the arch with the Brevoott house framed through it. On the other side of the card is the following ten course menu of the club’s first feast.

BREVOORT HOUSE

FIFTH AVE. AND WASHINGTON SQUARE
NEW YORK
“Camera Club,”
MAY 12TH, 1896

MENU
Little Neck Clams

SOUPS
Bisque of Lobster a l’Orientale       Consomme Royal

RELISHES
Celery       Olives      Toast de Caviar Moscovite     Radishes

FISH
Shad Roe aux fines herbes Potatoes, Duchesse

RELEVE
Mignon of Tenderloin of Beef a la Brevoort New String Beans and Peas panaches

ENTREE
New Asparagus, Hollandaise

SORBET
Camera Club Punch

ROAST
Squabs fareis aux marrons

SALAD
Lettuce and Tomato Mayonnaise

ICE CREAM AND DESSERT
Neapolitan Ice Cream and Fresh Strawberries, Chantilly
Assorted Fancy Cakes
Cheese         Fruit         Coffee

The following year, on mild and rainy Saturday, December 4th 1897 the club’s first annual dinner was held in an upscale New York establishment, Muschenheim’s Arena. The restaurant, known simply as The Arena, was located on 31 Street, East of Broadway.

Muschenheim's Arena, 31st East of Broadway. ca. 1900. Byron Company. Museum of the City of New York 93.1.1.10684

Muschenheim’s Arena, 31st East of Broadway. ca. 1900. Byron Company. Museum of the City of New York 93.1.1.10684

The following is the menu of the club’s first holiday feast. The invitation was a neatly presented folio with the Camera Club mark, a picture of a proud collie posing on a beach, and the night’s menu. I get a kick out of the photographic process references in each course. Who wouldn’t love to eat some Celery with hypo fixings! The Ice cream course would have been a particular extravagance. Until the advent of refrigeration, ice was a luxury few New Yorkers were able to enjoy.

Camera Club Dinner, The Arena, December 4th, 1897. Menu

Camera Club Dinner, The Arena, December 4th, 1897. Menu.*

Camera Club Dinner, The Arena, December 4th, 1897. Menu detail.

Camera Club Dinner, The Arena, December 4th, 1897. Menu detail.*

 

CAMERA CLUB DINNER

THE ARENA, December 4th, 1897

Oysters, on the half plate
Soup, Eiko cum Hydro
Bass, caught on the snap
Fillet of Beef, non actinic
Sorbet, a la cyanide
Quail, on celluloid film
Celery, hypo fixings
Ice Cream, de formalin
Cheese, over exposed
Fruits, in focus
Coffee, one dram

BORDEAUX INTENSIFIER,           H2O.
Dilute To Suit.

 Two years later, there are records of the third annual dinner. This event was also held at The Arena. This time the menu was enclosed in a blue folder with two pictures of ships inside and a printed menu, minus the quirky photo references.
Camera Club of New York, Third Annual Dinner, 1899, boat inside detail

Camera Club of New York, Third Annual Dinner, 1899, boat inside detail.*

 

THIRD ANNUAL DINNER THE ARENA

December 16th 1899

MENU
Oak Islands

SOUP
Cream of Celery aux Fleurons
Olives          Celery          Radishes

FISH
Fillet of Sole, Sauce Tartare
Potatoes a la Parisienne

ENTRÉE
Tournedos, Sautee, a la Financiere        French Peas Haricots Verts             Sorbet Cardinal

ROAST
Quail on Toast           Salade Moderne

DESSERT
Café Noir           Cheese
Fancy Ice Cream
Assorted Fruit

Camera Club of New York, Third Annual Dinner, 1899, canoe inside detail

Camera Club of New York, Third Annual Dinner, 1899, canoe inside detail.*

Camera Club of New York, Third Annual Dinner, 1899, menu inside detail

Camera Club of New York, Third Annual Dinner, 1899, menu inside detail.*

 

Men at a dinner for theatrical managers in large banquet room at the Hotel Astor. Feb. 1905. Byron Company. Museum of the City of New York 93.1.1.3623

Men at a dinner for theatrical managers in large banquet room at the Hotel Astor. Feb. 1905. Byron Company. Museum of the City of New York 93.1.1.3623

In 1903, 85 members of the Camera Club sat in a giant U-shaped table for the annual dinner. The scene would have looked very similar to the image above from the Hotel Astor. During this year, the Camera Club dinner was held at the end of January at the New York Athletic Club, an institution still around and flourishing today. Interestingly, in the Camera Club Archives there is a seating chart for this event as well as the menu. I don’t recognize most of the names on the seating chart, but it’s worth noting that Edward J. Steichen and Alfred Stieglitz sat next to each other in seats 25 and 26 respectively. Sitting to the left of Stieglitz is Joseph T. Keiley, a close friend of Stieglitz and noted photographer, writer and art critic.

SIXTH ANNUAL DINNER OF THE CAMERA CLUB AT THE NEW YORK ATHLETIC CLUB SATURDAY EVEN’G, JANUARY 31, 1903 SEVEN O’CLOCK

MENU
Little Neck Clams

SOUPS
Bisque of Lobster a l’Orientale Consommé Royale

RELISHES
Celery Olives Toast de Caviar Moscovite Radishes

FISH
Shad Roe aux fines herbes Potatoes, Duchesse

RELEVE
Mignon of Tenderloin of Beef a la Brevoort New String Beans and Peas panaches

ENTRÉE
New Asparagus, Hollandaise

SORBET
Camera Club Punch

ROAST
Squabs facis aux marrons

SALAD
Lettuce and Tomato Mayonnaise

ICE CREAM AND DESSERT
Neapolitan Ice Cream and Fresh Strawberries, Chantilly
Assorted Fancy Cakes
Cheese Fruit Coffee

The Seventh Annual Dinner, The Camera Club. Inside menu left.

The Seventh Annual Dinner, The Camera Club. Inside menu right page.*

The Seventh Annual Dinner is the last record of a formal annual banquet. It took place at the New York Athletic Club on February 13th, 1904. A hundred and twenty five members gathered for this twelve course feast.

It was sometime after the Seventh Annual Dinner that Edward Steichen would photograph The Pond–Moonrise, an early example of applied color photography. This image was one of three he created and is currently on the list of most expensive photographs sold.

The last record in the Camera Club archives of a dinner was an entertainment gathering at the Carnegie Lyceum, later known as Carnegie Hall. This invite features a particularly nice rendering of the layout of the new location of the Camera Club at 121 West 68th Street in Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

It’s worth pointing out that in 1908, Stieglitz wasn’t involved as much with the Camera Club.

Annual Entertainment program for the Camera Club of New York at the Carnegie Lyceum. May 25, 1908. Inside cover, Camera Club building rendering and layout image.

Annual Entertainment program for the Camera Club of New York at the Carnegie Lyceum. May 25, 1908. Inside cover, Camera Club building rendering and layout image.*

Annual Entertainment program for the Camera Club of New York at the Carnegie Lyceum. May 25, 1908. Program credits.

Annual Entertainment program for the Camera Club of New York at the Carnegie Lyceum. May 25, 1908. Program credits.*

 

ANNUAL ENTERTAINMENT OF THE CAMERA CLUB OF NEW YORK AT CARNEGIE LYCEUM ON THE EVENING OF TUESDAY THE TWELFTH OF MAY ONE THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED AND EIGHT

PROGRAMME

Part One

“LANTERN SLIDES OF YESTERDAY, TO-DAY, AND TOMORROW”

Including the wonderful Lumiere colored photography explained by Wm. D. Murphy and J. E. Blurter

Part Two

“THE MONEY SPINNER”

An original comedy in two acts by Arthur W. Pinero

Presented by a professional company under the direction of and including Mr. Sidney Herbert (By kind permission of Charles and Daniel Frohman)

Persons represented
Lord Kengussie                       Sidney Herbert
(By permission of Charles and Daniel Frohman)
Baron Croodle                          Dean Pratt
Harold Boycott                        Edward Longman
Jules Faubert                           John S. Robertson
Porter                                       Henry Bowen
Millicent Boycott                       Alida Cortelyou
Dorinda Croodle                       Myrtle Tannehill
Margot                                      Maud Giroux

Act 1. –Ten a.m.                       Sowing the Storm.

Act 2. –Ten p.m.                   Reaping the Whirlwind.

Scene. – Boycott’s Lodgings, 17 Rue Beauvoisine, Rouen.

Time. – The Present.


It was a trip blowing off the dust and browsing through the Camera Club’s archives in the New York Public Library research room. There are many more stories to be discovered hiding in those folios. I wish I had more time to dig them up. Special thanks to Manuscripts Specialist, Laura Slezak Karas and the team in the Manuscripts and Archives Division at NYPL.

* Image from the Camera Club of New York records. Manuscripts and Archives Division. The New York Public Library. Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations.

(This post is cross-posted on my blog)

Art Basel Miami Beach 2011 Recap

Posted by on Dec 27, 2011 in harlan erskine | One Comment

Art Basel Miami Beach 2011, Art Positions park-like-lounge area

Over the past ten years, I have attended Art Basel in Miami. Each year is a little different with an evolving program of events. The city of Miami has grown up along with this fair. There are so many events to attend that it can be overwhelming. Art Basel Miami Beach is a social event as much as it is about buying and selling art. If you have never attended, it’s a great opportunity to see photography, both old and new, mixed with other art in unexpected ways in this grand capitalistic experiment. Check out my highlights below.

 

Day 1
Art Basel Miami Beach Vernissage 2011, Art Public Opening Night, bass museum of art – erwin wurm: beauty business, Mr. Brainwash Miami Beach pop up.

 

Day 2

Clifford Owens at the On Stellar Rays booth.

NADA Fair, Design District and YACHT show.

Part 1
Part 2 

 

Day 3

Dietrich Wegner, Studies in Solitude, Cloud 1 at Carrie Secrist Gallery


Pulse Art Fair, Nike Shoe Launch at Shoe Gallery, Wynwood Walls, Random Party.

Part 1
Part 2 

 

Day 4

Andrea Galvani, Higgs Ocean #6 and #7 at Meulensteen

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

 

Day 5

Edward Weston, Nautilus Shell, 1927 at Edwynn Houk Gallery

Standard Hotel Pool Party, Art Basel Miami Beach re-visit.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4