Monday, October 22, 2012

Walter Gay - Impressions of Interiors

In the midst of all of the blockbuster fall book releases, there is one book that I hope will not be overlooked. Titled Impressions of Interiors: Gilded Age Paintings by Walter Gay, the book is an informative, but more importantly interesting, overview of the work of the late, esteemed interior illustrator.

Written chiefly by Isabel Taube as a companion catalogue to The Frick Art & Historical Center's exhibition of the same name, the book provides an engaging overview of Gay's oil renderings of both European and American interiors. There is an entire chapter devoted to Gay's paintings of his own homes, including Château du Bréau, as well as other chapters that profile Gay's studies of the homes of friends and patrons.  Also included is an enlightening essay on the style of interior decoration that was most often seen in Gay's work, something that provides context for Gay's charming paintings.

I know that many of you collect (or hope to someday collect) interior illustrations, so I do hope that you'll visit The Frick's exhibition if you're in the Pittsburgh vicinity.  And by all means, get a copy of this book!  It will only help to fuel your passion for this exquisite form of illustration.

Symphonie en Blanc (Château du Bréau)

Interior of the Bedroom of the Château du Bréau, c. 1912

The Artist's Study, rue de l'Université, c. 1910

Antechamber of Marie-Antoinette, Château de Fontainebleau

The Green Lacquer Room, Museo Correr, Venice, 1912/22

All images courtesy of Impressions of Interiors: Gilded Age Paintings by Walter Gay, Isabel Taube author. D Giles Ltd, 2012


  1. the Frick is this AMAZING museum (and attached house museum on the grounds AND really awesome little restaurant). I plan on seeing this when I'm home in Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving and can't wait! i'm trying to wait to see the exhibit before buying the book.

  2. These are lovely -beautiful light and gently shimmering surfaces. I've seen some of his outdoor work as well.

  3. Anonymous9:47 AM

    It is especially fascinating, when you have seen some of the original interiors yourself. I have bought the book just now; from, they have the cheapest price. The european amazon's want more...

  4. The show and book are especially important as a means of showing the elusive effects of light and color in these interiors, since photography was limited to black and white in that era. I hope the Frick Collection in NYC considers bringing the show to NYC so an even wider audience can enjoy it.

  5. Gay is a favorite of mine. Thank you

  6. What an extraordinary book. Going to the top of my list. Thanks.

  7. I have an old book on him (tried to put my hand on it today to no will be here somewhere) so riveted to hear about this new book and will order now, thank you

  8. The earlier wonderful book is......"A Charmed Couple" The Art and Life of Walter & Matilda Gay

  9. The exhibition catalogue is available for purchase at the Frick's Museum Shop and via its online shop at

  10. Beautiful paintings-it seems this tradition of Interior portraits is kind of dying out. Pity