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American Artists in the Gilded Age

Saturday, Mar 15, 2014
4 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Law Building, Lower Level
1001 Bissonnet Map & Directions

Presented by author Mary Tonetti Dorra.

The Gilded Age in America, a period of enormous economic growth during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was fueled largely by the rise of factories and widespread distribution of goods by railroad. The term "Gilded Age" comes from the title of a book by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner satirizing the thin “gilding” that disguised serious social problems including the almost-nonexistent career opportunities for women. Enter Mary Lawrence, a 25-year-old New York sculptor commissioned to sculpt Christopher Columbus for the Court of Honor at the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, making her the only woman with art displayed outside the Woman’s Building.

Author Mary Tonetti Dorra—in a just-released historical novel, Demeter’s Choice—brings the realities of the Gilded Age into vivid focus through Lawrence’s story, the social and political issues she faced, and her encounters with some of era’s most prominent artists. Questions about the content of this lecture? E-mail

About the Friday and Saturday Afternoon Lecture Series
This series of lectures is held on Fridays at 1:30 p.m. with a repeat on Saturdays at 4 p.m. in Brown Auditorium Theater. A reception to meet the speaker and a “Your Turn to Speak” tour follow each lecture.

$5 MFAH Members
$8 Nonmembers + Museum admission
Free for Members at the Patron, Supporting, Sponsor, and Benefactor levels, up to two tickets. Leadership Circle members receive unlimited free tickets.
Secure your seat in advance! Use the "Get Tickets" button above and print at home; call 713.639.7771; or visit any MFAH admissions desk.

Friday and Saturday Afternoon Lectures at the MFAH receive generous support from Aggie and Joe Foster.

Special thanks to Adept Word Management for transcription services.

All education programs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, receive endowment income from funds provided by Caroline Wiess Law; The National Endowment for the Humanities; the William Randolph Hearst Foundation; the Fondren Foundation; BMC Software, Inc.; the Wallace Foundation; the Louise Jarrett Moran Bequest; the Neal Myers and Ken Black Children’s Art Fund; the Favrot Fund; and Gifts in honor of Beth Schneider.