Tiny ladies of the Gilded Age

Posted by Jason Diamond

From the late 1890s until 1903, New York socialite Peter Marié commissioned portrait miniatures of women whom he believed epitomized female beauty. His collection of nearly 300 watercolor-on-ivory miniatures stands today as a document of New York’s Gilded Age upper crust, and are currently on display at the New York Historical Society.

Included in the exhibition are portraits of the stage actress Maude Adams, Mrs. Mary Paul Waldorf Astor, and Eleanor Roosevelt’s mother, Anna Hall Roosevelt.  Taking one look at the featured collection, it’s easy to realize why Marié’s 1903 New York Times obituary stated he was “Long a social leader in New York and an old school gallant,” then called him “one of the last gentlemen of the old school in New York.”

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