American Palaces: The Age of Opulence
The Age of American Palaces ran from the 1890s through the 1920s: a time when the nation’s oligarchs built improbably splendid mansions and gardens in a golden age of building craftsmanship and landscape gardening. In this lavishly illustrated lecture, we will look at four of the most stupendous examples: The Breakers, in Newport, Rhode Island; Biltmore, in North Carolina; Vizcaya, in Miami; and Hearst Castle, in San Simeon, California. We will also look at the people who built them: the clients (Cornelius Vanderbilt II, George Washington Vanderbilt, James Deering, and William Randolph Hearst), as well as the architects and landscape architects (Richard Morris Hunt, Frederick Law Olmsted, Paul Chalfin, Diego Suarez, and Julia Morgan). What do these palaces—all of them now open to the public—have to say to us today?