Barbara Hagerty stood outside the doorway to the home she shares with her husband, the surrealist painter Dr. Richard Hagerty. It’s a family home, one they’ve occupied together for 32 years. Mrs. Hagerty, a poet and author herself, is a gracious and personable host. This past Sunday, she warmly greeted Spoleto Scene members as they meandered in for this private brunch.
Upon entering the Hagerty residence, you’re immediately faced with a taste of the home’s decor. The walls of the parlor on the right are dotted with gold eight-pointed stars. Horned skulls look out from a console table set beside floor to ceiling bookshelves. Variously patterned pieces of furniture sit beneath a chandelier dangling with tangerine colored crystals.
From here, you followed a hallway lined with oriental rugs and Dr. Hagerty’s vivid surrealist paintings to the epicenter of the party where Scenesters mingled in the open concept kitchen and living room near the brunch buffet and cocktails or drifted through the glass double doors to the courtyard.
Some climbed the main staircase to Dr. Hagerty’s studio where he paused from painting to expound on color theory as it relates to music, the left brain’s coordination with the right, and the dreamscapes that inspire his work. “It’s all about the journey. This isn’t the end product. It’s the next one and the next one,” explained Hagerty, pointing from one painting to another.
He’s been painting throughout his life, but he didn’t find his niche until the suggestion was made that he paint his dreams. “I turned into a lucid dreamer and a meditator. It’s all a confluence. It’s part of the same process,” he said to the semi-circle of attentive Scenesters.
His watercolors are filled with symbols and obscure images and are reminiscent of some of the greats of the surrealism movement — a Dalí influence here or a Miró-esque work over there. A painting of a bull with no skin hangs in the stairwell with canvas nailed to his eyes. Frida Kahlo’s “The Wounded Deer” immediately came to mind.
“That’s a self-portrait from being a plastic surgeon,” Hagerty said. “The idea is that I’m on the other side of that canvas looking out. That’s one part of my world.” The works fill the walls of the artfully decorated house where everything seems random — with intention. Though the home is a collage of bright colors, exotic patterns, and intriguing decor, the courtyard is dominated by green. The lush garden is visible through high arched windows that line the walls of the living room. A zen pathway bordered by greenery winds through the garden. At the far end, a shaded lanai with pillowed furniture offered a cool space for Scenesters to sit back. It provides an excellent location, I imagine, for Dr. Hagerty’s meditative efforts.
Tables were available around the garden for Scenesters to sip, socialize, and dig into their brunch. Bamboo plates were stacked with offerings from Mt. Pleasant’s Kid Cashew: spinach quiche, avocado toast, and shrimp and grits among them. In the kitchen, Charleston Bloody Mary Mix offered bloodies of the Fresh and Veggie or the Bold and Spicy varieties. Noble Vines’ 515 rosé chilled over ice, and some brunchers enjoyed champagne poured over gelato. For those feeling health-conscious following a weekend of Spoleto-ing, a pony keg of Lenny Boy kombucha was available.
The brunch preceded Bank of America’s Chamber Music event at Dock Street Theatre, just around the corner from the Hagerty residence. Scenesters filed out of the home and into the sunshine to walk to the performance with an extra lightness to their steps. Perhaps this was due to the dreamy aura of the home or perhaps it was the Bloodies and brunch bites. Either way, it was another great day to be Scene.
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