HBO Max’s The Gilded Age highlights the fine art style

HBO Max's The Gilded Age highlights the fine art style

L.A, 2022-03-10 13:27:32. HBO Max’s The Gilded Age highlights the fine art style


NEW YORK—”What an ocean, Mrs. Russell. We could be in Tsarskoye Selo,” arrogant Ward McAllister told Nathan Lane upon first glimpse of her stately Fifth Avenue mansion in the “Golden Age.”

The Social Governance reference to an 18th-century mansion outside St. Petersburg, Russia, over new money Bertha has been lost, but the point has been made: The HBO Max series has rekindled America’s post-Civil War renaissance and New York City’s cultural awakening. In all the glory of fine art.

The term, which translates simply as “fine arts,” wasn’t simple in the hands of the city’s richest personalities at the time—names like Astor, Carnegie, Frick, Morgan, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and more. Thanks to this powerful ruling class and their architects, the period from the 1870s to the 1930s produced some of the best structures in New York.

Fine art at its best includes buildings such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Morgan Library and Museum, the Woolworth Building, Grand Central Station, Pennsylvania Station, the main branch of the New York Public Library, the Frick Collection, Grant’s Cemetery and select shrines at Woodlawn Cemetery, where some players rest.

Structures, or pieces of them, survived the rise of Art Nouveau, Art Deco and the Modernist movement as the country was radically transformed.

“Architecture is always a clear guide to how individuals or entire communities think of themselves,” HBO show creator Julian Fellowes told The Associated Press of why he needs to get the details right. “The princes of the American Renaissance were no different. They saw themselves as giants, no longer inferior to the products of ancient cultures across the sea, but the kings of the world.”

Just as Fellowes began working on The Golden Age several years ago after his success at Downton Abbey, architect, author, and educator Philip James Dodd began his passion project around the same era. His book American Renaissance: The Beautiful Architecture of New York City (publishing images) is a massive and meticulous book that delves into the homes, monuments, and public buildings that robber barons and industrialists demanded as much as the city gained its cultural foundation.

Characterized by classic forms, monumental proportions, and opulence, usually symmetrical, the Beaux-Arts style draws from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Some of the most sought-after American architects trained there before joining the gold rush for commissions amid the New York sea of ​​brownstone.

Their clients, banking, railroad and mining giants, were looking to show off their wealth and improve their social standing, and that of New York in the process. As they collected art and antiquities in Europe, their architects, sculptors, and muralists drew on a wide range of influences, including the ancient Greeks and Romans, combined with Renaissance and Baroque styles from Italy and France. Often, all at the same time.

While the Beaux-Arts style in France was big, in America it was “on steroids,” Dodd told the Associated Press.

“They wanted to create cities that would rival the big ones,” he said. “They needed memorials.”

Dodd’s book was released just four months before the series “The Golden Age” was shown. Fellowes Books Introduction.

One of today’s largest architectural firms, McKim, Mead, and White, appeared on the show. Bertha and her husband, George Russell, hired her ginger-haired and mustache partner to create their stately home (a fancy mansion on Millionaires Street on Fifth Avenue).

Prolific White, the designer of the homes, college buildings, and marble arch of Washington Square, also made real-life headlines in 1906 for his shooting on the roof of Madison Square Garden. His killer: Angry millionaire Harry Tho from Pittsburgh, who was married to one of the architect’s former teenage prostitutes, Evelyn Nesbitt.

When J.P. Morgan decided to build a new repository for his impressive book and art collections, he had transcended the flamboyant white and turned to his most suitable partner, Charles Follen McKim. Dodd wrote that McCim was already committed to overseeing the remodeling of the White House of President Theodore Roosevelt Jr. McKim continued to work for Roosevelt as well.

Morgan’s four-room library (now combined with other Morgan buildings) was far from McKim’s biggest commission, but dealings with the mighty Wall Streeter caused the architect to have a nervous breakdown, according to Dodd.

It was just one example of the titans of the era using their buildings as weapons against each other.

Dutch-born Joseph Raphael de Lamar, a mining magnate, purchased a double plot of land at the corner of Madison Avenue and 37th Street in 1902, a surprising move for a newcomer looking to make his way into high society because most of the wealthy had moved north to the extension Fifth Avenue between 59th and 96th Streets.

De Lamar’s lottery? His cut was against Morgan’s brownstone, and Morgan would regularly reject a newcomer in business. Dodd wrote that De Lamar hired architect CPH Gilbert to make his largest home in the neighborhood and one of the most gorgeous in the city, but most importantly it must cast a shadow over the Morgan House.

And it still is today, although De Lamar was never accepted into New York society, in part because his young wife was said to be too beautiful to be tolerated by other married women, according to the book.

So what led to the decline of the Gilded Age? Many factors changed the mood, including the introduction of income tax, World War I, the stock market crash in 1893, and Theodore Roosevelt’s antitrust determination.

“The unparalleled joy is gone,” Dodd said. “In some ways, the elite that basically ruled the country has suddenly become obsolete.”

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