Gilded Mansions: Grand Architecture and High Society

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2009 - Architecture - 383 pages
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The Gilded Age (1865-1918) saw the sudden rise of America's first High Society, including such prominent families as the Astors, Whitneys, and Vanderbilts. As an aristocracy based on fortunes recently acquired, these families endeavored to live like Europe's blue-blooded nobility, shedding Puritan restraint as they joyously flaunted their new wealth--especially where their homes were concerned.

They erected French chateaus and Italian palazzos on New York's Fifth Avenue, at Newport, and elsewhere, often taking inspiration from Parisian styles of the Second Empire. They rejected more modest American styles just as they rejected middle-class society, and for interior decoration they turned to such artisans as Tiffany, Herter Brothers, and Allard's of Paris.

Immensely readable and illuminated with 250 stunning color and black-and-white illustrations, this is the fascinating story of America's first millionaire society, the way they lived and partied, and the lush artistic and cultural legacy they established.

  

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Contents

An Introduction to the Gilded Age
7
The Empire of the Parvenu
19
The Early MansionsPart One
33
The Early MansionsPart Two
53
The William Henry Vanderbilt Mansion
81
A Petit Chateau on Fifth Avenue
107
Chapter6 The Cornelius Vanderbilt II Mansion
129
Vernacular versus Grandeur
151
The Villard Houses
239
Collector Dealer and Interior Decorator
257
The William C Whitney Houses
275
Rosecliff Crossways and The Elms
291
The Progeny of the Petit Chateau and the Villard Houses
313
Facades in the Modern French Manner
337
Endnotes
362
Bibliography
371

Biltmore and The Rothschild Factor
185
The Astor Mansion
207
Origins of the Firm and the Early Work at Newport
227
Acknowledgments
374
Index
375
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Wayne Craven is the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Professor of Art History, Emeritus, at the University of Delaware.

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