Beth Van Hoesen’s cocktail drinkers, though created in 1946, seem to show the same world-weariness that has gripped many of us throughout the tumultuous year. They are prepared, I imagine, to toast out the year, but they aren’t going to pretend it was fun! The woman’s raised eyebrow suggests her skepticism about the state of affairs, while the man’s slumped posture indicates resignation. They appear firmly ensconced at the table, perhaps a clue that they have been sitting there for quite some time.
Despite their dour expressions, this lithograph makes me laugh every time I see it. I love the power of art to connect us across the decades. Join them in raising a glass to usher out 2020. Here’s to a happier and healthier 2021!
—Mary Weaver Chapin, Curator of Prints and Drawings
Beth Van Hoesen (American, 1926-2010), Cocktail Hour, 1946, lithograph on cream wove paper, image: 12 1/2 in x 9 3/8 in; sheet: 19 1/8 in x 12 5/8 in, Gift of the E. Mark Adams and Beth Van Hoesen Adams Trust. Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon, 2007.60.13