Gloria Vanderbilt in her studio, Beekman Place, 19 December 2011 © Jonathan Becker

The Huntsville Museum of Art is honored to present an exclusive boutique exhibition celebrating the designer and artist Gloria Vanderbilt. Gloria Vanderbilt: An Artful Life will open to the public on October 30 and run into the new year.

Gloria Vanderbilt, Carol in her Rose Garden, 2006, acrylic on hardboard, 36 x 24 in. Estate of Barbara Riley

Behind the effervescent ear-to-ear smile and poised images that were published in many social columns, Gloria Vanderbilt was a complex, vulnerable, passionate, emotional, and extremely creative force. Gloria would spend hours each day in her studio, choreographing her precious time between her easel and her writing desk. Her studio, which was on the ground level in her apartment building on Beekman Place in New York City, was her sanctuary where she would paint, assemble her sculptures, and pen her memoirs, novels, and short stories.

When asked about the inspiration for her work, Gloria stated, “Often images are channeled in dreams, which find expression in my paintings. They have a narrative quality, which are shuffled around in the kaleidoscope of my imagination and find themselves in colors and patterns that sustain me. My memory is also a driving influence in my work. Memories I absorb and reinvent to changing effect because I have changed but do not want to let them go.” She further remarked, “Color too intoxicates and inspires me, as does the beauty of a person who has something I can’t quite catch. They become muses which I become obsessed to define, to reveal something of their inner mystery,” she added.

Gloria Vanderbilt, Aurelia with Black Birds, 2010, acrylic on hardboard. Estate of Barbara Riley

Few others have been photographed by as many legendary photographers as Gloria Vanderbilt. Her stunning portraits by Horst, Jonathan Becker, Adrián Villeta, Annie Leibovitz, and Jack Mitchell have been selected for this memorial exhibition. The exhibition also features a selection of Vanderbilt’s own artworks, as well as memorabilia documenting Vanderbilt’s recent association with the Huntsville Museum of Art.

Gloria’s creative legacy will stand the test of time. Her support and contribution of the Huntsville Museum of Art will forever be remembered. In 2012, Gloria and Wendy Goodman, author of The World of Gloria Vanderbilt, accepted an invitation from a longtime friend, Christopher Madkour, Executive Director of the Huntsville Museum of Art, to be the guest speakers at the Museum’s annual GALA Luncheon and Voices of Our Times event. During their visit to Huntsville, Gloria and Wendy were presented with a Key to the City by Mayor Tommy Battle, who extended an open invitation to return any time. Gloria’s stay in Huntsville was so memorable that she went on to host a fundraiser in New York for the Museum.

The exclusive exhibit will be on display in the Haws and Chan galleries of the Museum from October 30, 2020 – January 24, 2021 and will be included with the general price of admission. Tickets can be purchased at the front desk in the lobby of the Museum or online here. The Huntsville Museum of Art asks that all visitors wear a face mask at all times while inside.