Today Louis Comfort Tiffany is widely recognized as America's leading designer of the decades around 1900, but during his lifetime he was best known primarily as a designer of religious art, particularly memorial windows. They were installed by the thousands-mostly in Protestant churches and cemetery mausoleums-and formed the bulk of his business over four decades. An exhibition now on view at the Museum of Biblical Art in New York City is refocusing our attention on this aspect of Tiffany's artistic output.
In a time of cultural awakening when Boston was hailed as the Athens of America, Sarah Goodrich (Fig. 3) was the city's pre-eminent portrait miniaturist, creating indelible likenesses for more than a quarter-century between 1815 and 1850. Favored by such notable patrons as Daniel Webster, Thomas Handasyd Perkins, Edward Everett, and William Lindall Winthrop, she graced her sitters with an aura of intimacy that still flames in the mind's eye. Newly discovered examples of Goodrich's work and further historical research have added to the narrative of her life and renew our appreciation of "America's finest woman miniaturist."
In the spring of 1771 John Singleton Copley had several good reasons to look south to New York for fresh fields to conquer. Although he had effectively joined the social ranks of his clientele by marrying into one of the leading Tory families of Boston and acquired a suitable gentleman's estate on Beacon Hill, his new property required considerable investment while his portrait commissions had begun to slacken. Fortunately there was sufficient clamor for his talents in New York as a result of several of his paintings having established his reputation in the city.
Even without the sumptuous marble and gilded surfaces, tapestries, and stained glass of their original environment, the new Yale University Art Gallery installation of the Huntington murals is a critical aid in the reconstruction of a little known but important part of our cultural history.