New York: Art and Cultural Capital of the Gilded Age: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

New York: Art and Cultural Capital of the Gilded Age

1st Edition

Edited by Margaret R. Laster, Chelsea Bruner


226 pages | 10 Color Illus. | 60 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2020-04-01
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Fueled by a flourishing capitalist economy, undergirded by advancements in architectural design and urban infrastructure, and patronized by growing bourgeois and elite classes, New York’s built environment was dramatically transformed in the 1870s and 1880s. This book argues that this constituted the formative period of New York’s modernization and cosmopolitanism—the product of a vital self-consciousness and a deliberate intent on the part of its elite citizenry to create a world-class cultural metropolis reflecting the city’s economic and political preeminence. The interdisciplinary essays in this book examine New York’s late nineteenth-century evolution not simply as a question of its physical layout but also in terms of its radically new social composition, comprising the individuals, institutions, and organizations that played determining roles in the city’s cultural ascendancy.


"Those of us who teach should ask our university librarians to purchase the ebook in addition to the hardcover, so that individual essays can be downloaded, paired, and assigned to students in our undergraduate classes. All are well written and eminently readable by students and scholars alike."

--Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide

Table of Contents


Margaret R. Laster and Chelsea Bruner

Part I. Creating the Art and Cultural Capital

1. Looking West from the Empire City: National Landscape and Visual Culture in Gilded Age New York

David Scobey

2. The François Premier Style in New York: The William K. and Alva Vanderbilt House

Kevin D. Murphy

3. Aestheticizing Tendencies in Hudson River School Landscape Painting at the Beginning of the Gilded Age

Alan Wallach

Part II. Institutionalizing Art and Culture in the Capital

4. The Lenox Library: New York’s Lost Treasure House

Sally Webster

5. Publishing and Promoting a New York City Art World: Scribner’s Illustrated Monthly, 1870–1881

Page Knox  

6. An Unsung Hero: Henry Gurdon Marquand and His 1889 Gift to The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Esmée Quodbach

7. Metropolitan, Inc.: Public Subsidy and Private Gain at the Genesis of the American Art Museum

John Ott

8. Un-Domesticating the Ideal: William Wetmore Story and The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Lauren Lessing

Part III. Depicting the Capital in Art and Culture

9. Before the Farragut: Who Was Augustus Saint-Gaudens?

Thayer Tolles

10. Crossing Broadway: New York and the Culture of Capital in the Late Nineteenth Century

David Jaffee

11. Bulls, Bears, and Buildings: William Holbrook Beard’s Wall Street

Ross Barrett


Joshua Brown

About the Editors

Margaret R. Laster is an independent curator and scholar of American art. Previous posts include Associate Curator of American Art at the New-York Historical Society, and Lunder Consortium for Whistler Studies Fellow at the Freer Gallery of Art. Her research centers on art and material culture of the nineteenth century, including Gilded Age collecting and patronage histories.

Chelsea Bruner is a member of the liberal arts faculty at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, where she teaches Design History. Her work centers on architecture and interiors of the nineteenth and twentieth century, with an emphasis on elite patronage and the professionalization of architectural design in the Gilded Age.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Art History

Routledge Research in Art History is our home for the latest scholarship in the field of art history. The series publishes research monographs and edited collections, covering areas including art history, theory, and visual culture. These high-level books focus on art and artists from around the world and from a multitude of time periods. By making these studies available to the worldwide academic community, the series aims to promote quality art history research.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / History / General
ARCHITECTURE / History / Romanticism
ARCHITECTURE / History / Modern (late 19th Century to 1945)
ARCHITECTURE / Historic Preservation / General
ART / Collections, Catalogs, Exhibitions / General
ART / History / General
ART / American / General
ART / History / Modern (late 19th Century to 1945)
ART / History / Romanticism
ART / Art & Politics
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economic History
HISTORY / United States / 19th Century
HISTORY / United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)
HISTORY / Modern / 19th Century