Art History

Back to Blog April 18, 2024

Kedra Kearis (PhD 2023) publishes article

Author: Jane DeRose Evans
Kedra Kearis headshot

Kedra's work, “‘Her Own Room Will Be a Picture’: Alva Vanderbilt’s Bedroom à la Pompadour at Marble House (1892) by Jules Allard et Fils,” can be found in  Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide 23, no. 1 (Spring 2024),

The bedroom of US society leader Alva Vanderbilt at Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island (1892), features an extravagant French Revival furniture suite crafted by the studio of French furnituremaker and designer Jules Allard. This bedroom suite reflected Vanderbilt’s taste for courtly furniture of the past, yet it was produced according to Allard’s modern attitudes and practices. This article claims that Allard’s modern approach to a historical style resonated with Vanderbilt and helped her to realize her self-fashioning as a modern-day equivalent of the eighteenth-century French courtier the Marquise de Pompadour. Under Allard’s guidance, the bedroom became a performative space, a tableau vivant (living picture), in which Vanderbilt could enact her artistic, social, and imperial aspirations.