Donald Albrecht

Gilded New York:
Design, Fashion, and Society

Museum of the City of New York

Inaugurating the Museum’s Tiffany & Co. Foundation Gallery, Gilded New York explored the city’s visual culture at the end of the 19th century, when its elite class flaunted their money as never before. In New York, this era was marked by the sudden rise of industrial and corporate wealth, amassed by such titans as Cornelius Vanderbilt and Jay Gould, who expressed their high status through extravagant fashions, architecture, and interior design. The exhibition presented a lavish display of some 100 works, including costumes, jewelry, portraits, and decorative objects, all created between the mid-1870s and the early 20th century. The dazzling works in the exhibition illuminated an era when members of the new American aristocracy often displayed their wealth in storied balls in Fifth Avenue mansions and hotels. It was a time when New York became the nation’s corporate headquarters and a popular Ladies’ Mile of luxury retail establishments and cultural institutions helped launch the city to global prominence.

Accompanied by a 240-page catalog.

Working with co-curators Jeannine Falino and Phyllis Magidson, Mr. Albrecht developed the idea of the show, selected artifacts, co-authored exhibition text, and co-edited and contributed to the catalog.

>See exhibition catalog


“The staggering sums spent on art at last week’s auctions were interpreted by dealers and critics alike as evidence of a new Gilded Age. At such a moment, it may be useful to take a hard look at the old one, the late-19th-century period defined by the aggressive buying sprees of a few newly minted industrialists.”
Karen Rosenberg, New York Times
November 21, 2013

“Some of the greatest homes ever built in New York exist now only in archived photographs and memory. These were palace-like structures where young Astors, Vanderbilts, and Fricks would play—and barons of industry would relax in portrait-lined salons and under frescoed ceilings. Thanks to a new book, Gilded New York, and parallel exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York, newly resurrected images of these mansions are on display.”
Vanity Fair

Co-curators: Jeannine Falino and Phyllis Magidson
Exhibition designer: William T. Georgis Architect
Exhibition graphic designer: Pure+Applied
Exhibition lighting designer: Anita Jorgensen
Installation photographer: Whitney Cox

Donald Albrecht