Sep 20th 2018

Renowned artists of the Gilded Age were commissioned to celebrate on canvas many of Chicago’s first citizens and their privileged descendants. Extolling their subjects’ vigor, dazzle, and singular tastes, these portraits were created in an opulent and expectant atmosphere. Cultural historian Celia Hilliard will take a look back at this sometimes fraught enterprise – the choice of artist, tensions of the studio visit, festive portrait parties, and distinguished exhibitions where these works were displayed for a curious and fascinated public.

Image: Left: Eastman Johnson (1824-1906) George Mortimer Pullman (1831-1897), 1878. Oil on canvas, Chicago History Museum, Gift of Mrs. Frank O. Lowden, 1917.21 Right: Photograph of George M. Pullman, c. 1890. Courtesy of the Newberry Library.

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