American artist Walter Gay (1856–1937) specialized in painting views of opulent residential interiors in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century America and Europe. John Singer Sargent, Gay’s nearly exact contemporary, is well known for painting the sumptuous clothing and jewels of American society in his fashionable portraits.
Walter Gay, in contrast, painted society’s rooms—with their silk wall coverings, ornate paneling, 18th-century French furniture, tapestries, and sculptures—arranged in the private spaces of what were often legendary residences.
Impressions of Interiors: Gilded Age Paintings by Walter Gay will present a comprehensive exploration of Walter Gay’s depictions of elaborately decorated, European and American domestic interiors, painted from the mid-1890s to the early 1930s. These paintings serve as documents of the collecting, decorating habits, and taste of Gay and his patrons, and also as mirrors of their attitudes towards the past.
Helen Clay Frick, like many of her contemporaries, sought out Walter Gay to record the “spirit” of the spaces in what was then her family home, now The Frick Collection. The three resulting paintings are part of the collection at the Frick Art & Historical Center, and provide the inspiration and foundation for this reexamination of Walter Gay’s work. Organized by the Frick Art & Historical Center.
This exhibition was made possible by a generous grant from the von Hess Foundation.
Tuesday, 16 October, 2012
Pittsburgh, PA 15208