{program_image_alt Lecture Exhibition

Art, Money, and Celebrity: Portraits as Cultural Currency

Thursday, November 1 6 - 7:30 p.m. Buy Tickets Members: $12 Public: $20

Join Beauty’s Legacy Curator, Barbara Gallati, for her illuminating talk, which highlights a series of important portrait exhibitions that took place in New York in the 1890s, sparking a trend taken up in other American cities, including Chicago and Boston. Organized by members of the social elite for charitable purposes, the exhibitions featured hundreds of society portraits the cumulative impact of which created a platform not only for the spectacular display of personal grandeur, but also (because the exhibitions benefitted charities) functioned as a defensive ploy on the part of the wealthy whose opulent lifestyles were harshly criticized in a time of economic and social strife. Perhaps most important was that the selection of paintings revealed an inherent belief in personal and cultural legacy by depicting members of successive generations of families who figured in the development of the United States as a commercial and cultural power.

Barbara Dayer Gallati, Ph.D., is Curator Emerita, the Brooklyn Museum, where she was on the staff of the Department of American Art from 1984 to 2005. Throughout her curatorial career she also taught art history at a variety of institutions, including courses at the School of Visual Arts (Manhattan) from 1991 to 2005. Dr. Gallati has curated and written and/or edited catalogues for numerous exhibitions, including William Merritt Chase: Modern American Landscapes, 1886-1890, Great Expectations: John Singer Sargent Painting Children, and Making American Taste: Narrative Art for a New Democracy. She has also written extensively about the careers of such artists as Asher B. Durand and Thomas Wilmer Dewing and has focused as well on the American watercolor movement, particularly with respect to the work of Sargent and Winslow Homer.

She has recently contributed essays to catalogues for Une Brève Histoire de L’Avenir (Louvre, Paris, 2015), Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends (National Portrait Gallery, London, 2015), and Venedig: Stadt der Künstler (Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg, 2016). Among her forthcoming publications are essays about American Pre-Raphaelite iconography and the development of nineteenth-century American genre painting. She and her husband live in Bristol, England, where she is currently engaged in researching the life and art of the Anglo-American painter Charles Robert Leslie.

Image: Albert Abendschein (American, 1859–1914?), Mrs. Grenville Kane, ca. 1900. Watercolor on ivory. New-York Historical Society, Gift of the Estate of Peter Marié, 1905.124

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