This fall, Washington, D.C’s Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art, turns the spotlight on its beloved masterpiece, Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party, with a special installation and French culinary experience in honor of the museum’s 90th anniversary. The Phillips partners with Sofitel Washington, D.C., Lafayette Square to bring Renoir’s feast for the eyes to the table. 

For the month of September, prix fixe Renoir-inspired menus at iCi Urban Bistro and a “Luncheon of the Boating Party” weekend hotel package include tickets to see 90 Years of New: Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party and European Masterworks, on view at the Phillips Sept. 2 through Dec. 31, 2011.

Chef Olivier Perret is creating lunch and dinner menus inspired by Renoir’s painting, after making a pilgrimage to see it at The Phillips Collection last month.

The festive atmosphere of the artwork infuses appetizer choices like Vichyssoise, crispy leaks, a hearty Charcuterie board, and Burgundy escargot in parsley butter. Entrée selections include Poulet au vinaigre—a farm raised breast of chicken served with seasonal mushrooms cassolette in shallot confit vinegar reduction; Bar en croute de sel—an oven roasted sea bass in salt crust with fingerling potatoes and Brussels sprouts; and the French favorite, Coq au vin served with wild mushroom risotto.

Desserts are decadent, from French toast with roasted pear and caramel sorbet to creamy miniature Tarte Tropézienne, all served with French press coffee.

For David Kianni, food and beverage director for the Sofitel Washington, D.C., Lafayette Square, this collaboration creates the perfect French connection.

“Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party embodies the French culture of ‘easy living’ with food, wine, and friends,” he says. “Sofitel embodies French living through ‘l’art de recevoir,’ ‘the art of hospitality.’”

Phillips Director Dorothy Kosinski sees the partnership with Sofitel as a wonderful way to immerse visitors in Renoir’s painting through all their senses, facilitating a new, more personal connection with the work. “The collaboration is yet another bright spot among the Phillips’s interdisciplinary initiatives,” Kosinski says. “We’re excited by the opportunity to create a link between the visual and culinary arts and to celebrate French culture in an innovative and delicious way.”

The partnership features a $40 three-course lunch menu, $60 three-course dinner menu, and weekend hotel packages starting at $330 include weekend tickets to the Phillips Collection.

At the museum, guests will find Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party hanging triumphantly in its original location in the Main Gallery, the first gallery in his home museum that founder Duncan Phillips  opened to the public in 1921. It will be surrounded by other masterworks collected over the museum’s first decade.

In 2011, the Phillips Collection celebrates its 90th anniversary and launches the countdown to its centennial. Sofitel Washington, D.C., Lafayette Square is a contemporary downtown hotel bordering the White House. 

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