The Gilded Age, also referred to as the American Renaissance, is an era associated with unparalleled growth, technological advancement, prosperity, and cultural change. Spanning from the 1870s to the 1930s, it marks the first time that the titans of American finance and industry had more wealth than their European counterparts. As the center of this dynamic economy, New York City attracted immigrant workers and millionaires alike. It was not enough for the self-appointed elite to just build their own grand châteaux and palazzos along Fifth Avenue―collectively they dreamed of creating a new metropolis to rival the great cultural capitals of London, Paris, and Rome. To flaunt their newly acquired wealth they needed an architecture dripping in embellishment and historical reference. Enter the Beaux-Arts.
This book, which has been painstakingly researched and beautifully photographed over many years, takes a close look at twenty of the finest examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in New York City. While showing public exteriors, its focus is on the lavish interiors that are associated with the opulence of the Gilded Age―often providing a glimpse inside buildings not otherwise viewable to the public. While some of the buildings and monuments featured are world-renowned landmarks recognizable and accessible to all, others are obscure buildings that history has forgotten.
Set amid the magnificent achievements of an American Renaissance, this book recounts not only the fascinating stories of some of New York's most famous and significant Beaux-Arts landmarks, it also recalls the lives of those who commissioned, designed, and built them. These are some of the most acclaimed architects, artists, and artisans of the day―Daniel Chester French, Cass Gilbert, Charles McKim, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Stanford White―and some of the most prominent millionaires in American history―Henry Clay Frick, Jay Gould, Otto Kahn, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, and the ubiquitous Astor and Vanderbilt families. Names that―as Julian Fellowes (the acclaimed director of Downton Abbey) notes in the Foreword―“still reek of money.” Excerpt from the Introduction
- 412 pages
- 11.44 x 1.71 x 14.33 inches
- by Phillip James Dodd (Author), Jonathan Wallen (Photographer), Julian Fellowes (Foreword)