Arts Society: The Gilded Age

Susan Rosoff

Select Tuesdays, 10:30am - noon

The words “Gilded Age” capture it all. It was an era of great self-absorption where the goal of the affluent was to show off one's status and wealth, which they did by conspicuous consumption. The monied-class created stunning collections of everything from paintings and sculpture to furniture and porcelain, and built amazing mansions. They were helped along by Joseph Duveen, one of the most famous dealers of his generation. Some American artists, like John Singer Sargent, concentrated on society portraits, while other concentrated on everyday people and their lives, what they did for reaction, and how they were involved in the history or growth of our country. Join us to see how art reflected the values of the age. 


Members: $150
Future Members: $215 (Includes an Individual Membership)


September 13: The Gilded - and Not So Gilded - Age       

In the prosperous period from the end of the Civil War to World War I, ninety-nine percent of the wealth resided in the hands of one percent of the population. An exploration of the trends among the wealthy, contrasted with those who economically struggled.

October 18: American Artists in the Gilded Age       

Art reflected the seismic shifts in the socio-political spheres. Artists of this time looked to capture the changes in America, solidifying the country's thoughts of itself as it grew. Included are painters Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, and John Singer Sargent, and sculptors Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Daniel Chester French.

December 13: Art Collections of Wealthy Entrepreneurs        

Gilded Age patrons wanted collections that showed their status and wealth. Having a collection was important - it have a feeling of power and exclusive possession, but also provided owners a contemplative refuse from the cut-throat competition and remorseless pressures of business life. Among others the collections of Samuel Kress, Peter A. B. Widener, and J. Pierpont Morgan are included.

January 17: Joseph Duveen, Dealer Extraordinaire

Many believed that Joseph Duveen was the greatest art dealer of his generation. He had a practiced eye, an incredible visual memory, charm and charisma that was, proclaimed an admirer, “like drinking champagne.” But he was also clever - to the point of being manipulative in his dealings with collectors, whether they were buying or selling.

February 21: Mansions: Gilded Gotham and Newport “Cottages”

New York City mansions of the Vanderbilts, Astors and others and their Newport “cottages” were come of the grandest mansions of the era. The word “gilded” hardly did them justice.

April 4: The Idle Hours

For the first time in American history the rich had the time to be idle. Recreational activities were diverse, ranging from afternoon teas to outdoor sports. See and hear how people played.

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About Susan Rosoff

Susan Rosoff is the founder and managing member of Susan Merrill Rosoff, Arts and Museum Consulting, LLC and co-author of Teaching Through the Arts, Writing, Volume 1.  Previously she served as Curator of Education at Orlando Museum of Art, where she developed many award-winning programs for adults, including outreach programs for seniors in assisted living facilities and adults suffering from memory loss, as well as lectures, workshops, seminars, and art appreciation classes. In partnership with the University of Central Florida (UCF) she taught graduate and undergraduate art history classes based on the Orlando Museum of Art's contemporary art exhibitions.  As an adjunct instructor at UCF she also taught Twentieth Century Art, Art of the Last Twenty-Five Years and Non-Western Art.  She continues to develop educational material for museums, while directing and coordinating projects through the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE), and working with teachers on arts integration. Rosoff holds a B.A. in English from Briarcliff College, and an M.A. in art museum studies from Norwich University.  
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