A Hollywood Party at a Picasso Brownstone



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A Hollywood Party in a Picasso House

CreditRebecca Smeyne for The New York Times


“It is a great tradition in France, the salon,” said Diana Widmaier-Picasso, a granddaughter of Pablo Picasso, who hosted a crowd of Oscar and Emmy winners at her Gramercy Park brownstone in Manhattan on Monday night.

The party was sponsored by SAG-Aftra, the union that represents performers in movies, radio and television, and the guest of honor was Ryan Murphy, the director and producer of “Feud,” “American Horror Story” and “American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson.”

“I don’t know why I’m nervous,” Mr. Murphy said as he spoke to a crowd that included Matthew Broderick, Robert De Niro, Ron Howard, Debra Messing, Alfred Molina, Julianne Moore, David O. Russell and Susan Sarandon. “I’ve employed half the people in this room.”

Marisa Tomei sat on a fur-covered bed in the living room, her feet dangling over the edge. “Isn’t anyone going to sit with me?” she said. Questlove laughed and took her photograph. In another part of the house, the director Baz Luhrmann told Ansel Elgort, the 23-year-old actor and son of the fashion photographer Arthur Elgort, about his recent trip to Disney World. Nearby, Mr. Murphy huddled with two stars he has worked with, Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson.

Mr. Murphy, 51, has done a lot for women in Hollywood, having started a foundation to hire women and minority candidates to direct half the episodes of the shows he produces. But he is going against the tide: The number of women working in top jobs in the entertainment industry declined in 2016, according to a report by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University.

“We need to find a way to create access,” said Gabrielle Carteris, a former star of “Beverly Hills 90210” and the union’s president. “We have been talking about this for decades. Now it is time to commit to the process.”

Mr. Howard and Ms. Messing were among those gathered around a table in the dining room, which was lined with books on artists, including Ms. Widmaier-Picasso’s grandfather. Dinner included red snapper and asparagus.

For some, it was an evening to catch up with old friends. Mr. De Niro took out his iPhone to show Ms. Tomei a video of his youngest daughter playing tennis. “She looks just like you,” he told her. Mr. Russell quizzed Mr. Howard about his new series on Albert Einstein, “Genius.” Peter Brant Jr., a son of the industrialist and art collector, talked with his brother Harry by the fireplace as Mr. Luhrmann extolled the virtues of spring in New York. “People are on some adjusted chemical,” he said.

Ms. Widmaier-Picasso, an art historian, pointed to a wall-size photograph by Nobuyoshi Araki of a woman in bed, eyes closed. “You don’t know if she is sleeping, resting or just had an incredible orgasm,” she said. “I like it because it is mysterious. It stirs conversation.”

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