Beauty’s Legacy will include portraits of prominent New York sitters including Emma Thursby, Samuel Verplanck Hoffman, Mary Barrett Wendell, Reverend Henry Codman Potter, and Mary Gardiner Thompsonby done by such American artists as John Singer Sargent, James Carroll Beckwith, George Peter Alexander Healy, Daniel Huntington, Eastman Johnson, and Benjamin Curtis Porter. Paintings of other New Yorkers including James Hazen Hyde, Georgina Schuyler, Samuel Ward McAllister, Cortlandt Field Bishop, Leonard and Rosalie Lewisohn, and Samuel Untermyer by Léon Bonnat, Bouguereau, Carolus-Duran, Alexandre Cabanel, Anders Zorn, and Théobald Chartran reflect the vigorous American demand for portraits by European artists.
A selection of twenty-five miniature portraits of reigning social celebrities from Peter Marié’s Beauties of The Gilded Age will also be displayed. Deepening the historical context of these works, photographs and graphic materials will document the opulent residences built for the sitters and their images in fancy dress for lavish costume balls and society weddings. In addition, advertising graphics will record the fashions and cosmetics popular among the belles of New York society.
A catalogue will accompany the exhibition which will include essays by Dr. Gallati as well as Dr. Valerie Steele, Director and Chief Curator of the Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology. It will be published by the New-York Historical Society in association with D Giles Limited, London.
The New-York Historical Society houses an outstanding collection of over twenty-five hundred American paintings—primarily portraits, genre scenes and landscapes—dating from the colonial period through the twentieth century, as well as a select number of European works. It includes the personal collection of the New York merchant and pioneering art patron Luman Reed, as well as the collection of Robert L. Stuart, another nineteenth-century New York philanthropist and art collector.