Bars and Restaurants

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Bars, cafes, taverns, and restaurants have been important social spaces since at least the Middle Ages, and so, unsurprisingly, there is a rich tradition of representing such spaces in works of art. Dutch Baroque painters like Frans Hals and Adriaen van Ostade showed inns and taverns as places of both joyous revelry and moral laxity, while the rowdy nightlife of Edo Period Toyko was a favorite subject for Japanese painters and printmakers. In late 19th and early 20th century Europe, cafe culture nurtured the development of the Impressionists, who depicted their favorite haunts as sites of modernity. More recently, artists continue to explore bars and restaurants as spaces for social observation, or symbolic of transition and decay, from Rod Penner's photorealistic paintings of empty roadside cafes to Wijnanda Deroo's photographs of iconic New York City dining establishments.

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