May 23, 2024

Art meets brunch

A hearty helping of brunch-inspired art to whet the appetite before Brunch Club launches May 25

Black and white photograph of three people seated at lunch

Arnold Newman. [Igor Stravinsky, Vera de Bosset Stravinsky, and Robert Craft at lunch] from Bravo Stravinsky. Gelatin silver print, Overall: 19 × 31.1 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario. Anonymous Gift, 2012. © Arnold Newman Properties/Getty Images (2024). 2015/4678 

While much has been said about the social phenomenon that is brunch – from academic histories to class-conscious reflections – its most enthusiastic advocate was its first: British journalist Guy Beringer, the man credited with first putting that word into print. In 1895, Beringer wrote “Brunch: A Plea” for Hunter’s Weekly, espousing the benefits of a late social breakfast on Sunday, “... Brunch is a hospitable meal; breakfast is not. Eggs and bacon are adapted to solitude; they are consoling, but not exhilarating. They do not stimulate conversation. Brunch, on the contrary, is cheerful, sociable, and inciting. It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper; it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow-beings. It sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week...”  

While brunch is a much-loved Toronto pastime, on Saturday, May 25, the AGO Bistro launches a new spin on an old classic – Brunch Club. This experience blends artmaking, conversation and delightful bites that are best shared. To whet your appetite, we dug through the AGO Collection to set the table. 

Satirical drawing of aristocrats at tea

Adrien-Pierre-Francois Godefroy. Le The Parisien, c. 1800. Engraving with watercolor (hand colouring) on laid paper, Sheet: 42 × 51.2 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario. Purchase from the Trier-Fodor Fund, 2014. Photo © AGO. 2013/311 

Black & White photography of French cafe culture mid-century

Team Editorial Services. Cafe Society, 1969-1979. Gelatin silver print, Overall: 23.6 x 35.6 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario. Anonymous Gift, 2020. Photo © AGO. 2022/564 

colour polaroid of people at brunch in America, 1982

Zun Lee. 1982 [People standing by buffet of food, man sitting down and looking over his shoulder], 1982. chromogenic print, Overall: 8.8 × 11.2 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario. Fade Resistance Collection. Purchase, with funds donated by Martha LA McCain, 2018. Photo AGO. 2018/3094  

Black and white photo of people dining onboard a ship in 1906

Unknown. Shipboard, Fort de France, Martinique, 1906, 1906. nitrate , Art Gallery of Ontario. Montgomery Collection of Caribbean Photographs. Purchase, with funds from Dr. Liza & Dr. Frederick Murrell, Bruce Croxon & Debra Thier, Wes Hall & Kingsdale Advisors, Cindy & Shon Barnett, Donette Chin-Loy Chang, Kamala-Jean Gopie, Phil Lind & Ellen Rolan. © Art Gallery of Ontario 2019/1150 


oil on canvas of coffee pot and fruits

Pierre Bonnard. La Table Garnie, c. 1924. oil on canvas, Overall: 38.1 x 55.9 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario. Purchase, 1935. © Art Gallery of Ontario. 2303

Brunch Club launches at the AGO Bistro on Saturday, May 25 at 11:30 a.m. For more details and to register, visit  

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