In 1933 the United States struck almost a half million twenty-dollar gold coins, commonly known as Double Eagles. At virtually the same time, in one of his first acts as President, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an Executive Order banning the payout of gold, weaning the country off the gold standard. The 1933 Double Eagles, although legally made, became illegal to own and were never circulated. In 1934, two were sent to the Smithsonian Institution for posterity, and in February 1937 the rest were melted into gold bars and sent to Fort Knox—or so it seemed.
With its lavish gold leaf background, Gaddi’s panel was an expensive commission for a private Florentine palazzo and for its time was cutting-edge art. Originally the central section of a folding triptych consisting of three panels, it will be exhibited with two wings (sportelli) from a private collection that recently have been linked to it. Their similar dates, measurements, traces of hinges, and related iconographies suggest that the trio may once have been part of the same triptych.
Since 1971, the U.S. dollar has not been convertible into anything except small change. Like every other modern currency, it derives its value from the perceived acumen of the government that prints it. But in this era of financial insecurity, is the soaring price of gold evidence that faith in this system has wilted? Experts debate the future of our monetary system: Should the United States return to the gold standard or should it carry on by printing dollars with each successive financial crisis?
The New-York Historical Society's furniture holdings number more than 500 objects, including seating furniture, tables, case furniture, cradles, clocks and boxes ranging from a late seventeenth-century Dutch kast to a pair of 1960s Bertoia chairs. The earliest acquisition, a chair made for Marie Antoinette's private chambers at Versailles in 1779, was purchased by U.S. Minister to France Gouverneur Morris.
The New-York Historical Society Museum and Library houses a treasure trove of materials relating to the founding of our country, the history of art in America, and the history of New York and its people. The Museum houses more than 60,000 works and artifacts, including fine art, decorative art, historical artifacts, and ephemera. Fine art holdings include renowned Hudson River School landscapes; masterpieces of colonial and later portraiture; John James Audubon’s watercolors for The Birds of America; an encyclopedic collection of sculpture; and much more.