Gilding the Gilded Age

The Moorish Room of James Buchanan Brady (1856-1917),

Phase III of the digital collection, Documenting the Gilded Age, made possible by a grant from the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO), has just been completed. A collaborative project, this phase includes material from The Frick Art Reference Library and The William Randolph Hearst Archive at Long Island University (LIU) Post. Entitled Gilding the Gilded Age: Interior Decoration Tastes and Trends in New York City, the project focuses on the decorative arts and the important role auction sales and catalogues played in collecting during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The catalogues present how a collector’s wealth could vanish swiftly, resulting in others profiting from such tragedy. Together, the catalogues of these voluminous sales provide a unique window into an important segment of the rambunctious art market of the Gilded Age, and the mix of European antiquities and architectural salvage from France, Britain, Italy and Spain that has been termed the grand gout américain. An accompanying online exhibition at highlights major sales of Chinese Porcelain, and great collectors of the time as well as the American Art Association (AAA)—the most prominent conductors of auctions in New York City.

19,294 pages, representing 104 auction catalogues and other archival material are made digitally available through the New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC) catalog, Getty Research Portal, the Internet Archive (Frick Art Reference Library and LIU Post pages), and WorldCat. MARC records for items in the Gilding the Gilded Age collection are available to libraries worldwide.

For more information on this project, Gilding the Gilded Age…, please visit the About page from the online exhibition. To learn more about Phases I and II of the Documenting the Gilded Age projects, please see:

The Moorish Room of James Buchanan Brady (1856-1917), otherwise known as "Diamond Jim," from the auction of his property at the American Art Galleries, New York, October 22–30, 1917

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