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Bumpei Usui, Party on the Roof (Summer Evening),1926 (Independent Artists Exhibition, 1926)

This painting depicts a couple enjoying a cool evening on a
rooftop on a hot New York night. Although this is during the Prohibition era, whiskey and wine bottles are lying around, as well as a “Camel” cigarette box. Residents of neighboring buildings look on enviously; until the early 20th century, drinking and smoking by women was unthinkable. However, some of the new, open-minded women who emerged in the 1920s, known as “flappers,” drank and smoked openly.

The New York Shimpo wrote, “The subject matter and
conception of this work are extremely fashionable. It is a
mixture of variegated and colorful tones and has a Jazz-like
tone. The focus of the concept may be a little weak, but this
is a common problem with such a subject matter. I don’t
think it is a fine work regarding the painting as a whole.”
(Torajiro Watanabe, “‘Independent Art Exhibition,'” New York Shimpo, March 10, 1926).