The Dinner Party Test Plate (Eleanor of Aquitaine), 1979 overglaze enamel on porcelain in Plexiglas case diameter 14in in custom display case 33 x 26 1/2 x 26 1/2in
Provenance: The Estate of Henry Hopkins, Los Angeles, California
Note: The Dinner Party is widely recognized as one of the most influential installations of the 20th century and an important icon of 1970s feminist art. It premiered at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1979 (while Henry Hopkins was the Director) and later toured throughout the country and Europe. The installation is comprised of a large triangular table set for thirty-nine important women from history. The hand-stitched runners and hand-painted plates celebrate traditional female accomplishments such as textile art and china painting. Each of the plates has motifs based on female sexual anatomy that are rendered in the style of the woman being commemorated. Since 2007 it has been on permanent exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City. It continues to raise important issues about feminism and art.
For a full history of The Dinner Party please see Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party, A Symbol of Our Heritage, Anchor Books Edition, Garden City, New York, 1979 or Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party, From Creation to Preservation, Merrell Publishers Limited, London, 2007.
Henry Hopkins was a distinguished museum director who had a lifetime involvement in the arts. He received his MFA from The Art Institute of Chicago in 1955. After serving as a photographer in the US Army, he went to graduate school at UCLA and taught at UCLA Extension from 1959-1968. In 1960 he opened the Huysman Gallery in Los Angeles before becoming an Assistant Curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art the following year. From 1969-1974, he was the Director of the Fort Worth Art Center Museum and served as the Director of the San Francisco Museum of Art from 1974-1986 (he added "Modern" to the name). He moved back to Los Angeles in 1986 to head the Frederick Weisman Foundation and joined the Department of Art at UCLA in 1991. Hopkins painted and drew throughout his life.