R&D Lab ca. 1885 (Metropolitan Museum Favorites, 3)

When I think of 19th-century industry, I think of Vanderbilt’s railroads …

New York Central Railroad map (Wikipedia); Vanderbilt at Grand Central (Dianne L. Durante)

New York Central Railroad map (Wikipedia); Vanderbilt at Grand Central (Dianne L. Durante)

And Holley’s steel mills …

Bessemer steel converter (Wikipedia); Alexander Lyman Holley (Dianne L. Durante).

Bessemer steel converter (Wikipedia); Alexander Lyman Holley (Dianne L. Durante).

And Thomas Price’s lab.

Henry Alexander, In the Lab, ca. 1885-87. Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Alfred N. Punnett Endowment Fund, 1939. Photo: MetMuseum.org

Henry Alexander, In the Lab, ca. 1885-87. Size: 36 x 30 inches. Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Alfred N. Punnett Endowment Fund, 1939. Photo: MetMuseum.org

According to the MMA’s site, the subject of this portait / still life is Thomas Price (1837-1912), a chemist and assayist who was highly respected for his practical and theoretical knowledge of mining and metals. In his San Francisco lab, he worked as a consultant to mining companies.

More

  • I must see this in person again: the photo (as so often) doesn’t do it justice.
  • More Henry Alexander paintings are online here. (Spoiler: this one’s my favorite).
  • The Vanderbilt videos for Guides Who Know: Monuments of Manhattan are available here (About the Sculpture) and here (About the Subject); the supplementary “More” page is here. See also the Vanderbilt essay in Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan and ForgottenDelights.com. And if you want even more: T.J. Stiles, First Tycoon (exceptionally well researched and well written).
  • On Alexander Lyman Holley and the steel industry, see Forgotten Delights and the Monuments of Manhattan app. His sculpture stands in Washington Square Park.
  • Want wonderful art delivered weekly to your inbox? Members of my free Sunday Recommendations list (email DuranteDianne@gmail.com) receive three art-related suggestions every week: check out my favorites from last year’s recommendations. For more goodies, check out my Patreon page.

About Dianne L. Durante

I constantly seek out art that's inspiring, thought-provoking, skillfully executed, and/or beautiful so I can share it (in jargon-free language) with others who need and enjoy such art, but don't have time to search for it themselves. As an independent scholar, writer, and lecturer, I focus on art history and history, with forays into food, history, politics, and publishing. My most recent projects are three volumes on Alexander Hamilton, Central Park: The Early Years, Innovators in Sculpture (a survey of 5,000 years of art in 2 hours), and two videoguide apps by Guides Who Know. Click on the Books & Essays tab for a list of all books. For upcoming projects, see my Patreon page.

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