As spring slowly gives way to summer, picnic season is revving up and we here at the Vault can’t wait to throw together some amuse-bouches, a bottle of wine and a park-friendly sheet [extra points for red gingham] and head out for some much-needed rest and relaxation en plein air! Documenting picnics arguably began with the Impressionist movement, as painters like Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Camille Pissaro and more made it their mission to document the haute bourgeoisie enjoying an afternoon in the proverbial park, capturing the fall of light and shadow and the activities of everyday life. Of course, documenting picnics ‘at home’ became easier with the advent of photography, and given the picnic’s status– generally speaking– as a familial event or celebration amongst friends and clubs, inspirational photos throughout the 20th century are plentiful.
Below, a pictorial romp through the ages from the Victorian era through the 1970s.
Victorian Era; Edwardian era circa 1900s
Texas cowgirls circa 1930s
A couple on motorcycle trip, circa 1930s
clowning around, circa 1940s
Alpine picnic, circa 1950s
circa early 1960s
Sophia Loren circa early 1960s; New Yorkers picnic in style, Fire Island circa 1962
Vespa ad, circa early 60s
1970s picnic fashions; photo from September 1976 issue of Scientific American