New Digital Collection Provides a Unique Window Into "Rambunctious Art Market" of the Gilded Age

We're pleased to share the following press release from The Frick Art Reference Library and Long Island University - Post Campus, whose grant-funded project, Gilding the Gilded Age: Interior Decoration Tastes and Trends in New York City was recently unveiled. We also had the pleasure of hosting a session about this project at METRO's 2014 Annual Conference last Wednesday, January 15, 2014. 

Phase III of the digital collection, Documenting the Gilded Age, made possible by a grant from the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO), has been completed. A collaborative project, this phase includes material from The Frick Art Reference Library and The William Randolph Hearst Archive at Long Island University (LIU) Post. Entitled Gilding the Gilded Age: Interior Decoration Tastes and Trends in New York City, the project focuses on the decorative arts and the important role auction sales and catalogs played in collecting during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The catalogs present how a collector’s wealth could vanish swiftly, resulting in others profiting from such tragedy. Together, the catalogs of these voluminous sales provide a unique window into an important segment of the rambunctious art market of the Gilded Age, and the mix of European antiquities and architectural salvage from France, Britain, Italy and Spain that has been termed the grand gout américain. An accompanying online exhibition highlights major sales of Chinese Porcelain, and great collectors of the time as well as the American Art Association (AAA) – the most prominent conductors of auctions in New York City.

19,294 pages, representing 104 auction catalogs and other archival material are made digitally available through Arcade - the catalog of the New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC), Getty Research Portal, Internet Archive (Frick and LIU pages) and WorldCat. MARC records for items in the Gilding the Gilded Age collection are available to libraries worldwide.

For more information on this project, Gilding the Gilded Age…, please visit the About page from the online exhibition. To learn more about Phases I and II of the Documenting the Gilded Age projects, please see: http://www.frick.org/research/library/exhibitions.