Standing 20 feet tall in front of the Custom House, Key West’s Art and History Museum, the “Time for Fun” statue of an old fashioned dancing couple was inspired by French artist Auguste Renoir’s famous 1883 painting “Dance in the Country.” As the name suggests, it is considerably more fun than the sculpted dancers that were previously placed here.
This previous statue, based on Renoir’s painting “Dance in the City,” showed a couple dancing in a formal ballroom and was called “Whispering Close.” The current installation, however, is a better match to the spirit of Key West than it’s precursor. This statue is more lively and more colorful—the dancers appear to be having a much better time.
Both monuments were created by artist Seward Johnson—grandson of the Johnson & Johnson co-founder—who is known for his trompe l’oeil bronze statues. Johnson often donates sculptures to the town, where his is a part-time resident, and his pieces can be found in several places around Key West as well as inside the museum. Though many characterize Johnson’s art as “kitsch,” the “Time for Fun” statue seems to be one of the most photographed objects in Key West.
In Renoir’s paintings “Dance in the City” and “Dance in the Country,” the man is modeled on his friend, author Paul Lhote, and the woman is modeled on Aline Charigot, who would later become Renoir’s wife. The original painting can be found at the Musée d’Orsey in Paris.
Update November 2017: The statue has been replaced by a 20-foot statue representation of the 1945 Times Square VJ Kiss photo.