Looking back to the Aesthetic Movement

At this year’s Kips Bay Decorator Show House, I was particularly moved by the entry gallery and lower staircase, designed by Richard Rabel. These spaces stand out for the historic narrative which gives them layers of colors, textures, and stories.

In creating these spaces, Rabel was inspired by a very specific moment in the 19th-century, called the Aesthetic Movement. It promoted art for art’s sake, the pleasure of the arts, and the notion that art didn’t have to have any meaning beyond what we see, and was adored by such British tastemakers as Oscar Wiled and painter Sir Frederic Leighton, as well as the industrial elite of New York. 

I have hosted Richard Rabel in Spring Dialogues


The Leighton House


Oscar Wilde