November 2010 - May 2011
|Anson Dickinson, A Member of the Roosevelt Family, about 1840, watercolor on ivory, Gift of the Rabbage Purchase Fund, Elliot S. Vesell, M.D., and various donors to the American Art Fund, 2010.7|
Dandy. n. 1. One who studies above everything to dress elegantly and fashionably; a beau, fop, exquisite. -Oxford English Dictionary
The popularity of the portrait miniature in Great Britain coincided with the rise of the dandy: a young—or sometimes not-so-young—man of fashion whose clothing, appearances, and mannerisms projected nonchalance and social refinement. The miniature's intimate scale and appearance suited self-proclaimed dandies, since the requirements of laying down watercolor on ivory meant that an artist had to work precisely, without a wasted motion, for a seemingly effortless finished product.
The passion for fashion—and portrait miniatures—quickly crossed the Atlantic. Within a short time, clients and artists in cities up and down the Eastern seaboard began to commission and to create intimate portraits of dashing Yankee Doodle Dandies.
This installation brings together a selection of the Museum's dandiest dandies, from both Europe and America.
Select Images from the Exhibition