The Fashionable Portrait

Catherine Personette Pryme, (1815-1867), by James Van Dyck, oil on canvas, c. 1840, Albany Institute Purchase, 1973.33.2

JULY 15, 2017—MARCH 31, 2018

Over the centuries, portraits have offered interesting illustrations of the fashions and social customs of their times. The subjects took care in selecting their clothing, accessories, and adornments. The artists intentionally captured intricate details that reveal themselves upon close scrutiny—delicate lace trims, skilled needlework, shimmering silk fabrics, and more.

This exhibition brings together fourteen paintings and four miniature portraits from the Albany Institute’s collection to specifically highlight nineteenth century fashion as depicted in the work of portrait painters— including articles of clothing unfamiliar to today’s audiences.