The United States' artistic tradition matured along with its development as a nation. A desire to document and celebrate the cultivated elegance of American life, over its other realities, helped the 1880s and 1890s come to be known as the "Gilded Age." The passion for beauty, in portraiture especially, also extended into other areas of painting, as well as into luxury objects created for genteel homes.
The close of the 19th century provided an opportunity for Americans to look back upon their first full century of nationhood, inspiring paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts that dealt with issues of national identity and romanticized the colonial past of the United States. At the same time, Americans joined the international movement of "orientalism," a fascination with the "exotic" locales of Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East.
Some of the artists in this gallery include John Singer Sargent, William Michael Harnett, Edwin Lord Weeks, John Frederick Peto, Anna Eliza Hardy, and Dennis Miller Bunker, as well as art glass by Louis Comfort Tiffany and Mount Washington Glass Company.