Sketchbook, “Raywood, Staten Island”

Helena de Kay

Not on view

Helena de Kay Gilder is better known for her role as a cultural tastemaker in the late 19th-century New York art world than for her paintings and drawings. A magnetic personality, she greatly enriched the progressive cultural landscape of late-19th-century New York through many contributions, including establishing the famous Friday salons at the Gilders’ home near Union Square, The Studio; organizing a Saturday morning sketch club; and co-founding both the Art Students League and the Society of American Artists. De Kay Gilder’s leading presence was directly responsible for the large number of women involved in those organizations. This rare example of her work in pastel—mostly bound sketches of her children, landscape, and nature studies—documents her ongoing creativity, following her prioritization of marriage and motherhood over a professional art career.

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