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The Gilded Age Essay

The Gilded Age was a period of “ambition, sophistication, and elegance” wherein Americans became more appreciative of European aristocracy and culture. There was an increase in the demand for high-society portraits, idealization of and fascination with women, and desire for rural images such as vacation spots. The art of bronze casting was perfected during this time. Artists and wealthy patrons collaborated on many different projects like never before (The Gilded Age par. 5). Different artists with their different skills on various media brought luster to the era.

Winslow Homer was the son of an amateur watercolorist (Winslow Homer par. 1). His apprenticeship to a lithographer and his freelance work to illustrate for Harper’s Weekly honed his skills in line art drawings. He went to France to observe European art before he pursued his painting career. Although he was also good in oils, he was more popular for his watercolor creations. His paintings were usually low in tone and color but his technique using broad masses and clear lines show traces of his past work when he used to make line drawings for Harper’s Weekly.

Louis Comfort Tiffany was the child of very famous jeweler, Charles Lewis Tiffany. Louis his passion for the arts as a painter but later grew fond of stained glass in 1875. He established a glassmaking factory of his own and experimented with different ways of coloring the medium. His decorative glass called “Favrile,” iridescent, freely shaped glass mixed with bronze-like alloys and other metals became very fashionable not only in America but in Europe as well. His creativity in glass led him to be commissioned by President Chester A.

Arthur as redecorator of some rooms in the White House. His impressionistic effects and highly creative innovations in the glass industry made him one of the front liners of the Art Nouveau Movement (Encyclopedia Britannica par. 2). His distinct career as designer of jewelry, windows and decorative glass spanned 57 years and he also holds the patent for his creation of the opalescent window glass (Tiffany & Co. par. 5). Augustus Saint-Gaudens is particularly famous for his sculpted monuments and skill in coin making.

He created the statue of Admiral Farragut (Madison Square, New York City) in 1881 followed by the monument of Lincoln (Lincoln Park, Chicago) in 1887, followed by Samuel Chapin or The Puritan (Springield, Massachusetts) and the Shaw Memorial in Boston (Augustus Saint-Gaudens par. 2). Although known for his sculptures, President Theodore Roosevelt commissioned this cancer-stricken artist to redesign American coins and he was able to produce the double eagle coin which up to date is still considered the most beautiful American coin ever issued by the US Mint (United States par. 6)

Thomas Wilmer Dewing is a renowned figure painter who went under the tutelage of Jules Lefebvre in Paris, France for three years. He was a member of both the National Academy of Design and the Society of Ten American Painters. His participation in the Paris Exhibition of 1889 was received well (Encyclopaedia Brittanica par. 1). He is considered a sensitive figure painter and accomplished draftsman whose specialty was on creating ethereal pictures of women (Thomas Wilmer Dewing par. 2). George Inness is famous as a landscape painter who started out as a map engraver in New York City.

He went to Paris in the 1850s and this made him an exponent of the Barbizon-style of painting where his landscapes emitted distinct moods that were done with looser brushwork and dark palettes. This helped define the Tonalist movement. He is best known for his style of painting simply by memory as opposed to most who need the subject present to create a project (George Inness par. 2-3). John Singer Sargent was an accomplished pianist before his mother, put him in the direction of the fine arts. He became student to French painter Carolus-Duran and his early paintings showed much influence.

By 1882, portrait commissions began to demand much of his time. He grew tired of painting conventionally and decided to explore his own worth by combining the artistic styles of different artists such as Edouard Manet, Velazquez, Titian, etc. in a single project like Madame X. This notoriety lessened projects. His focus on murals and watercolor by the latter part of his career produced great projects that are displayed at the Boston Public Library, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, and the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library at Harvard University (Weinberg par.

1-6). Frederick MacMonnies was an accomplished painter and portraitist but his popularity was in sculpting. In 1893, he joined the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and was well-recognized for his fountain for the Court of Honor (Frederick William MacMonnies par. 1). His “Bacchante and Infant Faun” which was a sculpture that depicted a nude woman dancing on her right toes with a nude child in her arms and grapes held high on her left hand scandalized society when it was first placed at the Boston Public Library.

He withdrew it from the world until he offered it to the Metropolitan Museum 13 years later where it was given more appreciation (Works of Art par. 2-5). The Gilded Age was an era of great change for America, a nation beginning to understand its importance in the international arena. The sudden improvement in lifestyle made the country boastful of its industrial accomplishments but blinded by the instability of the economy they have built. It was the great performance and creations of artists such as MacMonnies and the rest of the discussed that gave it the luster required to make it truly gilded.

Works Cited “Augustus Saint-Gaudens. ” 2010. The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th edition 2008 Encyclopedia. com HighBeam Research Inc. 17 May 2010 <http://www. encyclopedia. com/topic/Augustus _Saint-Gaudens. aspx > Encyclopedia Britannica “Louis Comfort Tiffany. ” Encyclop? dia Britannica. 2010. Encyclop? dia Britannica Online. 17 May 2010 <http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/595436/ Louis-Comfort-Tiffany>. “Frederick William MacMonnies. ” 2008. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. HighBeam Research, Inc. 17 May 2010 <http://www.

encyclopedia. com/topic/Frederick_William_ MacMonnies. aspx>. “George Inness The Complete Works. ” 2010. www. georgeinness. org. 17 May 2010. <http://www. georgeinness. org/biography. html >. “The Gilded Age In American Art 1876-1917 Overview. ” 2010. University of Kansas Spencer Museum of Art. 16 May 2010 http://www. spencerart. ku. edu/resources/gilded_age/overview . shtml>. “Thomas Wilmer Dewing. ” 21 October 2006. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 17 May 2010 <http://www. 1911encyclopedia. org/Thomas_Wilmer_Dewing>. “Thomas Wilmer Dewing.

” Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery. 17 May 2010 <http://americanart. si. edu/search/artist_bio. cfm? ID=1247 >. Tiffany & Co. 2010. 16 May 2010. <http://www. tiffany. com/about/LouisComfort. aspx> “United States $20 1907. ” 2010. The National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. 17 May 2010. <http://americanhistory. si. edu/collections/object. cfm? key =35&objkey=717>. Weinberg, H. Barbara. “John Singer Sargent (1856–1925)”. October 2004. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. 16 May 2010

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