The Course of Empire: The Savage State

Classification: 
Is owned by NYHS: 
Yes
Date: 
ca. 1834
Medium: 
Oil on canvas (relined)
Dimensions: 
Overall: 39 1/4 x 63 1/4 in. ( 99.7 x 160.7 cm ) Framed: 53 in. × 6 ft. 4 1/2 in. × 5 3/4 in. (134.6 × 194.3 × 14.
Description: 

Thomas Cole. The Course of Empire: The Savage State, 1834. Oil on canvas, 39 1/4 x 63 1/4 in. New-York Historical Society, Gift of The New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts.

Credit Line: 
Gift of The New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts
Object Number: 
1858.1
Marks: 
signed lower right: 'T. Cole'
Gallery Label: 

In the late 1820s the young Thomas Cole quickly built a successful career as a painter of Hudson River landscapes, but he harbored ambitions of turning the landscape form to a larger purpose. As early as 1827 he conceived a cycle of paintings that would illustrate the rise and fall of a civilization, and a few years later he began sketching and developing his ideas. The artist attempted unsuccessfully to persuade Robert Gilmor, a Baltimore patron, to commission the series, and in 1833 he secured a commission from New York merchant Luman Reed to paint a cycle of five paintings for the art gallery in his home. In the resulting series, The Course of Empire, Cole presented a cyclical view of history in which a civilization appears, matures, and collapses. The artist's distinctly pessimistic vision differed from that of many of his peers; in the early years of the United States' history, its future was considered limitless. Cole drew from a number of literary sources, such as Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and Byron's epic Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. The motto he attached to the series was taken from Byron's popular poem: "First freedom, then glory; when that fails, wealth, vice, corruption." The artist finally settled on a title in 1835, taken from Bishop George Berkeley's 1729 poem, "Verses on the Prospect of Planting Arts and Learning in America," which begins "Westward the Course of Empire takes its way." Cole also drew upon paintings he had seen on his recent trip to Europe (1829-32), including the work of J.M.W. Turner and Claude Lorrain. The five paintings follow a dramatic narrative arc, anchored by the imperturbable mountain in the background, and expounded with rich and complex symbolic systems that illustrate this imaginary world's history, including the course of the sun across the sky, the changing relation of man to nature, the role of animals, the arts, and the military, and even the placement and character of his own signature. Luman Reed, Cole's generous patron, did not live to see the completion of the series. He died in June of 1836, but Reed's family encouraged Cole to complete the work. The series was exhibited to great acclaim in New York later that year. The Course of Empire, along with the rest of Reed's collection, became the core of the New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts. That group of works was donated to the New-York Historical Society in 1858, forming the foundation of its acclaimed collection of American landscape painting. Cole executed the series of paintings in their narrative order beginning with this work, which he had completed by 1834. In a letter to Luman Reed, Cole envisioned that this first canvas, "representing the savage state, must be a view of a wilderness." The untamed terrain recalls the work of the Baroque painter Salvator Rosa (1615-1673) and is the foundation for this interpretation of the dawn of civilization. The Savage State is derived from A Wild Scene (Baltimore Museum of Art), which Cole painted in 1831-32 for his patron Robert Gilmor in an attempt to persuade him to commission the entire cycle. The two works share turbulent skies, a mighty, looming mountain, and aboriginal figures hunting for their daily meal. Several elements in The Savage State commence the symbolic systems that trace the arc of civilization. The sun rises over the water, signaling a new day. Cole himself identified the season as springtime and pointed out his depiction of the rudiments of society, with men banding together for the hunt; as well as the beginnings of the arts in the making of canoes and huts, and "in the singing which usually accompanies the dance of savages," seen at the far right. Cole signed the painting at the bottom right, incising "T. Cole" on a rock.

Provenance: 

Luman Reed, d. 1836; Mrs. Luman Reed, New York, 1836-44; New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts, 1844-58.

Bibliography: 

Morris, G. P., ed., "The Fine Arts," The New-York Mirror, A Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts, Vol. XII, No. 23, December 6, 1834, p. 179. Morris, G. P., ed., "The Fine Arts," The New-York Mirror, A Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts, Vol. XIII, April 2, 1836, p. 318. Morris, G. P., ed., "The Fine Arts," The New-York Mirror, A Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts, Vol. XIV, No. 17, October 22, 1836, p. 135. Morris, G. P., ed., "The Fine Arts," The New-York Mirror, A Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts, Vol. XIV, No. 18, October 29, 1836, p. 142. Clark, Lewis Gaylord, ed. The Knickerbocker, Vol. VIII, No. 5, November, 1836, pp. 81, 630. Morris, G. P., ed., "The Fine Arts," The New-York Mirror, A Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts, Vol. XIV, No. 19, November 4, 1836, p. 150. "Amusements," New York Commercial Advertiser, Vol. XXXIX, Friday, November 4, 1836, n.p. Morris, G. P., ed., "The Fine Arts," The New-York Mirror, A Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts, Vol. XIV, No. 20, November 12, 1836, p. 158. Morris, G. P., ed., "The Fine Arts," The New-York Mirror, A Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts, Vol. XIV, No. 27, December 31, 1836, p. 215. Poe, Edgar Allen, ed., "The New York Gallery of the Fine Arts," The Broadway Journal, I, February 15,1845, pp. 102-103. "Our Pigeon-Holes," Aristidean: A Magazine of Reviews, Politics and Light Literature, March 1845, p. 79. Bryant, William Cullen, Funeral Oration, occasioned by the Death of Thomas Cole, Delivered Before the National Academy of Design, New-York, May 4, 1848, New York, D. Appleton & Company, pp. 23-4, 26. Exhibition of the Paintings of the late Thomas Cole, at the Gallery of the American Art-Union, 1848, pp. 19-20. Noble, Louis Legrand, The Course of Empire, Voyage of life, and Other Pictures of Thomas Cole, N. A., With Selections from his Letters and Miscellaneous Writings: Illustrative of his Life, Character, and Genius, New York: Cornish, Lamport & Company, 1853, n.p. Stillman, W. J. & Durand, J. Eds., "The Artists of America," The Crayon, Vol. VII, No. 2, February 1860, pp. 45-6. Hone, Philip, The Diary of Philip Hone 1828-1851, New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1889, p. 236. Durand, John, The Life and Times of Asher B. Durand, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1894; Reprint, Hensonville, NY: Black Dome Press, 2007), p. 124. Caffin, Charles H., The Story of American Painting: The Evolution of Painting in America from Colonial Times to the Present, New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1907, pp. 66, 69-70. Mather, Frank Jewett, Morey, Charles Rufus, and Henderson, William James, The Pageant of America: The American Spirit in Art, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1927, p. 43. Isham, Samuel, The History of American Painting, New York: The MacMillan Company, 1936, pp. 225-6. Sweet, Frederick A. "Asher B. Durand, Pioneer, American Landscape Painter," The Art Quarterly, Vol. 8, No. 2, Spring, 1945, pp. 141, 153. Howe, Winifred E., A History of the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a Chapter on the Early Institutions of Art in New York. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1946, pp. 62-7 Thomas Cole: One Hundred Years Later, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT 1948, pp. 10-1. Tunnard, Christopher, "Reflections on the Course of Empire and other Architectural Fantasies of Thomas Cole, N.A.," The Architectural Review, Vol. 104, December 1948, pp. 291-294. Davidson, Marshall, "Whither the Course of Empire?" American Heritage, October 1957, pp. 52-5, 58-61, 104. Flexner, James Thomas, That Wilder Image: The Painting of America's Native School from Thomas Cole to Winslow Homer, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1962, pp. 49-58, 108, 354. McCoubrey, John, American Tradition in Painting, New York: G. Braziller, 1963, p. 65. Exhibition at Kennedy Galleries, New York, 1964, pp. 14, 26-7. Noble, Louis Legrand, The Life and Works of Thomas Cole, Hensonville, New York: Black Dome Press, 1964, pp. 103, 112, 129-131, 149-50, 155, 157-9, 164-74, 264, 268, 287. Wallach, Alan P., "The Origins of Thomas Cole's 'Course of Empire,'" M.A. Thesis, Columbia University, 1965. Lawall, David B., Asher Brown Durand: His Art and Art Theory in Relation to His Times, PhD Dissertation, Princeton, 1966, pp. 170-92, 288-9. Callow, James T., Kindred Spirits: Knickerbocker Writers and American Artists, 1807-1855, Durham, North Carolina, The University of North Carolina Press, 1967, p. 157. Annual II: Studies on Thomas Cole, An American Romanticist, Baltimore, Maryland: Baltimore Museum of Art, 1967, pp. 72-4. Wallach, Alan P., "Cole, Byron, and the Course of Empire," The Art Bulletin, Vol. 50, No. 4, December 1968, pp. 375-9. Dunlap, William, A History of the Rise and Progress of The Arts of Design in the United States, A Reprint of the Original 1834 Edition with a New Introduction by James Thomas Flexner, Vol. 2, Part 2, New York: Dover Publications, 1969, p. 366. Baur, John I. H., The Autobiography of Worthington Whittredge 1820-1910, New York: Arno Press, 1969, pp. 40-1. Parry, Elwood, Thomas Cole's "The Course of Empire:" A Study in Serial Imagery, PhD Dissertation, Yale, 1970, pp. 254-60. Glassie, Henry H., "Thomas Cole and Niagara Falls," The New-York Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. LVIII, No. 2, April 1974, p. 89. Novak, Barbara, "The Double-Edged Axe," Art in America, Vol. 64, No. 1, Jan.-Feb. 1976, pp. 44-50. New York State Museum, New York: The State of Art, Albany, New York: The New York State Museum, 1977, pp. 25, 30-1, and exhibition catalog, Mann, Maybelle, The American Art-Union, Jupiter FL: ALM Associates, c. 1977, pp. 15-7. Davidson, Abraham A., The Eccentrics and Other American Visionary Painters, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1978, pp. 16-9, 138. Lynes, Russell, "Luman Reed: A New York Patron," Apollo, Vol. 107, No. 192, 1978, pp. 124-9. Cikovsky Jr., Nicolai, "'The Ravages of the Axe:" The Meaning of the Tree Stump in Nineteenth-Century American Art," The Art Bulletin, Vol. 61, No. 4, Dec., 1979, pp. 611-26. Craven, Wayne, "Luman Reed, patron: His Collection and Gallery," The American Art Journal, Vol. XII,, Spring 1980, pp. 43, 45, 50-6. Parry III, Ellwood C., "Thomas Cole's Ideas for Mr. Reed's Doors," The American Art Journal, Vol. XII,, Summer 1980, pp. 33-45. Baigell, Matthew, Thomas Cole, New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1981, pp. 16-9, 49-50, 52, 82. Treuttner, William H., "The Art of History: American Exploration and Discovery Scenes, 1840-1860," The American Art Journal, Vol. XIV, No. 1, Winter 1982, pp. 4-31. Kasson, Joy S., Artistic Voyagers: Europe and the American Imagination in the Works of Irving, Allston, Cole, Cooper and Hawthorne, Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1982, 84-90, 111-129. Koke, Richard J., American Landscape and Genre Paintings in the New-York Historical Society, Vol. I, New York: The New-York Historical Society, 1982, pp. 192-200. Tammenga, Michael J., The Beautiful, the Sublime, and The Picturesque: British Influences on American Landscape Painting, St. Louis Missouri: Washington University, 1984, p. 57. Maddox, Kenneth W., "Thomas Cole and the Railroad: Gentle Maledictions," Archives of American Art Journal, Vol. 26, No. 1, 1986, pp. 2-10. Kelly, Franklin, and Carr, Gerald L., The Early Landscapes of Frederic Edwin Church, 1845-1854, Fort Worth, Texas: Amon Carter Museum, 1987, p. 66. Menefee, Ellen Avitts, The Early Biblical Landscapes of Thomas Cole (1825-1829), Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI, 1987, p. 40, 80, 145. Miller, Angela, "Thomas Cole and Jacksonian America: The Course of Empire as Political Allegory," Prospects, Vol. 14, 1989, pp. 65-92. Powell, Earl A., Thomas Cole. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1990, pp. 62-71, 184. Foshay, Ella M., Luman Reed's Picture Gallery: Pioneer Collection of American Art, New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1990, pp. 59-61, 130-40, 207-8. Platt, Susan, "Paradigms and Paradoxes: Nature, Morality, and Art in America," Art Journal, Vol. 51, No. 2, Summer 1992, pp. 82-88. Bryant II, William Cullen, Highlands Sketches: The Hudson River in the Eye of the Beholder, Mount Taurus Press, Nelsonville, New York: 1993, p. 13. Bailey, Brigitte, "The Protected Witness: Cole, Cooper, and the Tourist's View of the Italian Landscape," American Iconology: New Approaches to Nineteenth-Century Art and Literature, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1993, pp. 92, 110. Daniels, Stephen, Fields of Vision: Landscape Imagery and National Identity in England and the United States, Cambridge: Polity Press, 1993, pp. 158-161. Robinson, Christine T., Guest Curator, Thomas Cole: Drawn to Nature, Albany, NY: Albany Institute of History & Art, 1993, pp. 34, 49-50, 52. Griffin, Randall C., "The Untrammeled Vision: Thomas Cole and the Dream of the Artist," Art Journal, Vol. 52, No. 2, Summer 1993, pp. 71. Nutty, Carolyn Sue Himelick, Joseph Harrison, Jr. (1810-1874): Philadelphia Art Collector, Vol. I, dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of Delaware in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Art History, Fall 1993, pp. 47-8. Caldwell, John and Roque, Oswaldo Rodriguez, American Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Vol. I, A Catalogue of Works by Artists Born by 1815, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994, pp. 459-61. Wallach, Alan, "Museums and Resistance to History," The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 21, 1994, pp. B3-5. Cooper, James F., Knights of the Brush: The Hudson River School and the Moral Landscape, New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1999, pp. 31, 45-8, 77, 80. Koja, Stephan, Ed. AMERICA: The New World in 19th-Century Painting, Munich: New York: Prestel, 1999, pp. 25-7, 215, 235. Goldfarb, Hilliard T., Hirschler, Erica E., Lears, T. J. Jackson, Sargeant: The Late Landscapes, Boston: University Press of New England, 1999, pp. 8-9. New-York Historical Society, Perspectives on the Collections of the New-York Historical Society, New York: The New-York Historical Society, 2000, p. 28-30. Georgi, Karen L., "Asher B. Durand's American Landscapes and the Nature of Representation," PhD Dissertation, Boston University, 2000, pp. 115-7. Bedell, Rebecca, The Anatomy of Nature: Geology & American Landscape Painting, 1825-1875, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2001, pp. 26, 29, 33, 36, 38-41, 45. Wilton, Andrew & Barringer, Tim, American Sublime: Landscape Painting in the United States 1820-1880, London: Tate, 2002, pp. 23-4, 46, 51-3, 87, 95-109. Belli, Gabriella, Giacomoni, Paola, Cavino, Anna Ottani, curators, Montagna: Arte, scienza, Mito da Durer a Warhol, Milano: Skira, 2003, pp. 189-201. Simon, Janice, "Impressed in Memory: John Frederick Kensett's Italian Scene," Classic Ground: Mid-Nineteenth Century American Painting and the Italian Encounter, Athens, Georgia: Georgia Museum of Art, 2004, pp. 51-69. Payne, Christine, and Vaughn, William, eds., English Accents: Interactions with British Art c. 1776-1853, Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2004, pp. 10, 246. Burgard, Timothy Anglin, Ed., "Thomas Cole, Prometheus Bound," Masterworks of American Painting at the De Young, San Francisco: Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, 2005, pp. 70-3, 483-4. Ramirez, Jan Seidler, "A History of the New-York Historical Society," The Magazine Antiques, January 2005, pp. 140-1. Vedder, Lee A., "Nineteenth-century American paintings," The Magazine Antiques, January, 2005, pp. 148-9. De Salvo, Donna and Norden, Linda, "Course of Empire: Waste and Retrieval," Course of Empire, Exhibition Publication for the United States Pavilion at the 51st International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, June 12-November 6, 2005, n.p. McDaniel, Amy Ellis, "Works on Paper by Thomas Cole in the Detroit Institute of Arts," Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts, Vol. 80, No. ½, 2006, pp. 16-25. Keck, Michaela, Walking in the Wilderness: The Peripatetic Tradition in Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Painting, Heidelberg: Winter, 2006, pp. 71-3, 75, 77. Novak, Barbara, American Painting of the Nineteenth Century: Realism, Idealism, and the American Experience, New York: Oxford University Press, 2007, pp. 47-8, 51, 54. Kornhauser, Elizabeth M., "The Hudson River School: Landscape Art in America, 1820-1870," America: Storie di pittura dal Nuovo Mondo", Italy: Linea d'Ombra Libri, 2007, p. 28. Hirshler, Erica Eve, "Nineteenth Century American Painters in Italy's 'Great University of Art,'" America: Storie di pittura dal Nuovo Mondo", Italy: Linea d'Ombra Libri, 2007, p. 75 Vedder, Lee A. "Nineteenth-century American paintings." The Magazine Antiques 167 (2005): 146-155. Bland, Bartholomew F. and Vookles, Laura L. The Panoramic River: The Hudson and the Thames. Yonkers: Hudson River Museum, 2013.

Date End: 
1834
eMuseum Object ID: 
54879
Sort order: 
0
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OFF
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Medicine Man (Blackfoot): Plate 173

Classification: 
Collections: 
Is owned by NYHS: 
Yes
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Date: 
1866-68
Medium: 
Graphite and black ink on prepared card
Dimensions: 
Overall: 18 3/8 x 24 in. (46.7 x 61 cm)
Description: 
Ethnography. Studies of Native Americans: a man wearing a bear skin with head and claws and the horns of a bull stands with his foot on the chest of a dying warrior, shaking a tamborine-like drum/ rattle adorned with the skins of frogs, rattlesnakes, a duck, fox pelts and feathers and holding a saw-edged spear. A woman and child sit nearby mourning and weeping, while the village encircles the group weeping and covering their mouths
Credit Line: 
Purchased by the Society
Object Number: 
1872.23.173
Marks: 
inscriptions: Signed
Inscriptions: 
Signed at lower right inside image in black ink: "Geo. Catlin"; inscribed at upper center outside image in black ink over graphite: "Pl. 173. / Medecine Man (Blackfoot)"
Provenance: 
The artist's collection; Francis Putnam Catlin, the artist's brother, serving as agent to George Henry Moore, acting on behalf of N-YHS
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1868
eMuseum Object ID: 
54215
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Flags on 57th Street, Winter 1918

Classification: 
Collections: 
Is owned by NYHS: 
Yes
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Date: 
1918
Medium: 
Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 
Overall: 35 3/4 x 23 3/4 in. ( 90.8 x 60.3 cm ) frame: 42 1/2 x 30 1/2 x 2 1/2 in. ( 108 x 77.5 x 6.4 cm )
Credit Line: 
Bequest of Julia B. Engel
Object Number: 
1984.68
Marks: 
signature and date: lower right: "Childe HASSAM 1918"
Gallery Label: 
The work represents a bird's-eye view of 57th Street and Sixth Avenue as seen from Hassam's studio at 130 West 57th Street. It is part of a series of flag paintings that Hassam exhibited in 1919.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1918
eMuseum Object ID: 
43793
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

George Washington (1732-1799)

Classification: 
Collections: 
Is owned by NYHS: 
Yes
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Date: 
1835
Medium: 
Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 
Overall: 30 x 25 1/4 in. ( 76.2 x 64.1 cm ) Framed: 42 1/4 × 37 1/2 × 6 3/4 in. (107.3 × 95.3 × 17.1 cm)
Credit Line: 
Gift of The New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts
Object Number: 
1858.32
Provenance: 
Luman Reed, d. 1836; Mrs. Luman Reed, New York, 1836-44; New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts, 1844-58.
Bibliography: 
Morris, G. P., ed., "National Portrait Gallery: The Presidents of the United States," The New-York Mirror, A Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts, Vol. XII, August 9, 1834, p. 41. Catalogue: Descriptive, Biographical, and Historical of the Exhibition of Select Paintings, by Modern Artists, Principally American, and Living, Under the Direction of a Committee of Amateurs, the Paintings Borrowed for this Particular Purpose from Friends to the Arts at the Stuyvesant Institute, Open until the Fifth of January, 1839, New York: G. P. Scott, 1838, p. 10. "World of Science and Art: The New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts," The New World, April 6, 1844, pp. 441-2. Tuckerman, Henry T., Book of the Artists, American Artist Life, Comprising Biographical and Critical Sketches of American Artists: Preceded by an Historical Account of the Rise and Progress of Art in America, New York: P. Putnam & Son, 1867, p. 621. Durand, John, The Life and Times of Asher B. Durand, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1894; Reprint, Hensonville, NY: Black Dome Press, 2007), p. 106-15. "Pictures by Durand," The New York Times, April 26, 1903, p. 34. Barck, Dorothy C., "Washingtoniana of the New-York Historical Society," The New-York Historical Society Quarterly Bulletin, Vol. XV, No. 4, January 1932, pp. 111-49. Lawall, David B., Asher Brown Durand: His Art and Art Theory in Relation to his Times, Submitted to Princeton University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, March 1966, pp. 63, 140, 149-52, 159-62, 192-4, 610, 614, 616, 620. Catalogue of American Portraits in The New-York Historical Society, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974, Vol. 2, p. 859. Foshay, Ella M., Luman Reed's Picture Gallery: Pioneer Collection of American Art, New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1990, pp. 19, 30-1, 46-8, 61-2, 84, 141-5, 200, 204-5, 209. Lyons, Maura, William Dunlap and the Construction of an American Art History, Amherst & Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2005, pp. 157-8. Lassiter, Barbara Babcock, American Wilderness: The Hudson River School of Painting, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1977, pp. 36-7.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1835
eMuseum Object ID: 
43406
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Mrs. Pierre Toussaint (ca. 1786-1851)

Classification: 
Is owned by NYHS: 
Yes
Date: 
ca. 1825
Medium: 
Watercolor on ivory
Dimensions: 
Overall: 3 1/4 x 2 5/8 in. ( 8.3 x 6.7 cm )
Description: 
N-YHS Museum Collection
Credit Line: 
Gift of Miss Georgina Schuyler
Object Number: 
1920.5
Gallery Label: 
Juliette Noel was married to Pierre Toussaint in 1811. She was the daughter of a nurse in a French family, and Toussaint purchased her freedom when she was fifteen.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1825
eMuseum Object ID: 
43198
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Pierre Toussaint (ca. 1781-1853)

Classification: 
Is owned by NYHS: 
Yes
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Date: 
ca. 1825
Medium: 
Watercolor on ivory
Dimensions: 
Overall: 3 1/4 x 2 5/8 in. ( 8.3 x 6.7 cm )
Credit Line: 
Gift of Miss Georgina Schuyler
Object Number: 
1920.4
Marks: 
signature: at the right: "Meucci"
Gallery Label: 
Born in slavery in Santo Domingo, Haiti, Pierre Toussaint was brought to New York about 1797 by Jean Bérard, a wealthy French landowner. When Bérard returned to Haiti and suddenly died, leaving his young widow in New York without means, Toussaint took care of her until her death. He supported her as well as his own family by becoming one of the most successful and fashionable hairdressers in New York City.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1825
eMuseum Object ID: 
43197
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

William Walton (1706-1768)

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Collections: 
Is owned by NYHS: 
Yes
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Date: 
ca. 1750
Medium: 
Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 
Overall: 50 x 40 in. ( 127 x 101.6 cm )
Credit Line: 
Bequest of Theodora M. Storm
Object Number: 
1902.3
Gallery Label: 
William Walton was the son of Captain William and Mary (Sandford) Walton. He followed his father into the shipping and mercantile business and became a prominent figure in the colony, serving as a member of the New York General Assembly (1751-58) and of the Governor's Council (1758-68). He was one of the founders and a trustee of the New York Society Library and a member of the Board of Trade from 1758 until his death.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1750
eMuseum Object ID: 
43120
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Dragonfly table lamp

Classification: 
Is owned by NYHS: 
Yes
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Date: 
ca. 1900-1906
Medium: 
Glass, bronze
Dimensions: 
Overall (height, diameter): 28 1/2 × 22 in. (72.4 × 55.9 cm)
Description: 
Leaded glass and bronze "Drophead Dragonfly" table lampshade; 22" diameter shade depicting dragonflies with outspread filigree wings and heads projecting below lower border of shade; design repeated nine times; background glass mottled yellow and blue near aperture progressing to blue near border; glass "jewels" blue; dragonfly eyes green, wings blue-yellow, and bodies orange-yellow. Shown on adjustable bronze base (N84.113.2) with 33 iridescent balls around circular platform (base model is 392), with cap (N84.113.3).
Credit Line: 
Gift of Dr. Egon Neustadt
Object Number: 
N84.113.1
Marks: 
stamped on metal tag inside shade: "TIFFANY STUDIOS NEW YORK 1507"
Gallery Label: 
This dragonfly shade, a popular model, was priced at $175 in Tiffany's 1906 price list. Prices ranged from $3 for small candleshades to $400 for large and intricate lamps. Considering that the average hourly wage in 1906 was only 17 1/2 cents, these lamps were an unattainable luxury for many.
Bibliography: 
Gray, Nina. "The work of Tiffany Studios." The Magazine Antiques 167 (2005): 194-201.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1906
eMuseum Object ID: 
42297
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

The Peale Family

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Yes
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Date: 
1773-1809
Medium: 
Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 
Overall: 56 1/2 x 89 1/2 in. ( 143.5 x 227.3 cm )
Credit Line: 
Gift of Thomas Jefferson Bryan
Object Number: 
1867.298
Marks: 
signed, dated and inscribed: right center: "C. W. Peale painted these Portraits of his family / in 1773. / wishing to finish every work he had undertaken / -completed This picture in 1809!"
Gallery Label: 
Conceived in the early 1770s, Charles Willson Peale's (1741-1827) depiction of his family was the most ambitious portrait undertaken by a colonial American artist up to that time. As a tour de force of artistic conception and technique, it went far to establish Peale as a master portraitist. The warmth of family ties that one finds in the letters and diaries of the Peale family is very much in evidence in the portrait. The theme of love and friendship is underscored by the subject of the painting on the easel at the left, which depicts three maidens signifying the "Concordia Animae" or "agreement of the spirits." The artist appears at left, holding his palette and supervising the drawing made by his brothers, St. George and James. Seated in the middle of the scene is Rachel Brewer Peale, the artist's first wife, and their daughter, Margaret. To the right sit the artist's mother, Margaret, his sister, Elizabeth, and his daughter, Eleanor. Standing behind the table are the artist's sister, Margaret Jane and the Peales' family nurse, Peggy Durgan, while the artist's dog Argus, sits in front of the table. The three portrait busts depict Peale's teacher, Benjamin West, Peale, and one of Peale's earliest patrons, the Virginia-born lawyer Edmund Jennings. The table contains a fine still life, bearing an apple peal, intended as a pun on the artist's name, and the artist seldom surpassed his rendering of fabrics in this picture. The family portrait remained in Peale's possession throughout his life. Some thirty-five years after commencing the picture and after he had essentially retired from painting to devote time to his museum, Peale made certain changes to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion. He repainted parts of the background, parts of his own likeness, and included the profile of his beloved dog, Argus. By 1813 the portrait was installed in the Peale Museum where it remained until it was purchased in 1854 by Thomas Jefferson Bryan, who donated the painting, along with his entire art collection to the New-York Historical Society in 1867.
Bibliography: 
Sellers, Charles Coleman, Portraits and Miniatures by Charles Willson Peale, The Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 42, Part I, Philadelphia: 1952, pp. 157-8, 289. Catalogue of American Portraits in The New-York Historical Society, New Haven: Yale University Press, Vol. 2, 1974, pp. 609-11. Richardson, Edgar P., Hindle, Brooke, and Miller, Lillian B., Charles Willson Peale and His World.. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1983, pp. 28, 197. Miller, Lillian B., ed., The Selected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and his family. New Haven: Published for the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution by Yale University Press, c. 1983, n.p. Miller, Lillian B. and Ward, David C., eds., New Perspectives on Charles Willson Peale. A 250th Anniversary Celebration. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1991, n.p. Miller, Lillian B., "Father and Son: The Relationship of Charles Willson Peale and Raphaelle Peale," American Art Journal, Vol. 25, No. ½ (1993), pp. 4-61. Miller, Lillian B., ed., The Peale Family, Creation of a Legacy, 1770-1870, Exh. cat. Philadelphia Museum of Art (Nov. 3, 1996-Jan. 5, 1997), The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, M.H. De Young Memorial Museum (Jan. 25-April 6, 1997) and The Corcoran Gallery of Art (April 26-July 6, 1997) (New York: Abbeville Press in assoc. with The Trust for Museum Exhibitions, and the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 1996). Ward, David C., Charles Willson Peale, Art and Selfhood in the Early Republic. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2004, pp. 137-43. Vedder, Lee A. "Nineteenth-century American paintings." The Magazine Antiques 167 (2005): 146-155. Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine. Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 2013, p. 60.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1809
eMuseum Object ID: 
41924
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Anna Pavlova (1881-1931)

Classification: 
Collections: 
Is owned by NYHS: 
Yes
Highlight: 
Display this item in the highlights
Date: 
1924
Medium: 
Patinated plaster on a wooden base
Dimensions: 
Overall: 25 3/4 x 20 x 10 1/2 in. ( 65.4 x 50.8 x 26.7 cm )
Description: 
Portrait bust
Credit Line: 
Gift of the artist
Object Number: 
1952.45
Marks: 
inscriptions: signed under left arm: "Malvina/1924"
Gallery Label: 
Pavlova, the famous Russian dancer, was born in St. Petersburg and studied at the Imperial Ballet School there. She toured America for the first time in 1910, by which date she had formed her own company, choosing as her first partner the brilliant Mikhail Mordkin who was succeeded by Adolph Bolm and others. Her most famous role was "The Dying Swan," choreographed for her by Michel Fokine.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1924
eMuseum Object ID: 
41922
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

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Creative: Tronvig Group