Living Pictures: Gilded Age Portrait Photography

From: 07:00 PM to 08:30 PM

Erin Pauwels, an author and historian of American art and visual culture, will give a lecture at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, February 7: Living Pictures: Gilded Age Portrait Photography. Her research explores portraiture and identity formation, celebrity culture, and intersections between theater and the visual arts.

Pauwels is an Associate Professor of American Art at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and Architecture with a special interest in photography, media theory, and ecocriticism. Her first book, Napoleon Sarony's Living Pictures: The Celebrity Photograph in Gilded Age New York (Penn State University Press, 2024), recontextualizes the legacy of a prominent nineteenth-century artist to reveal how the emergence of mass media and celebrity culture reshaped traditional definitions of art and artistic authorship.

Her lecture will examine the vibrant history of Sarony, a celebrity photographer once known as "the father of artistic photography in America.” During the last three decades of the nineteenth century, Sarony's opulent portrait studio on Union Square was a New York City landmark visited by famous figures such as Sarah Bernhardt, Oscar Wilde, and Mark Twain.

Wednesday, February 7 at 7:00pm to 8:30pm

Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum & Reichert Planetarium 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport, NY


Arts & Culture


Suffolk County



$10, and free to members


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