Published by Syracuse University Press in May 2019, it is available in hardback and ebook variously at http://syracuseuniversitypress.syr.edu, Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and your local independent bookstore. The paperback will also be available May 23, 2020.
Winner of the 2020 Book Award from the Victorian Society in America for scholarship and advancing the recognition of 19th-century arts in America
"What a splendid book!" -
Paul R. Baker, author of Stanny: The Gilded Life of Stanford White
November 1891, the heart of Gilded Age Manhattan. Thousands filled the streets surrounding Madison Square, fingers pointing, mouths agape. After countless struggles, Stanford White―the country's most celebrated architect―was about to dedicate America's tallest tower, the final cap set atop his Madison Square Garden, the country's grandest new palace of pleasure. Amid a flood of electric light and fireworks, the gilded figure topping the tower was suddenly revealed―an eighteen-foot nude sculpture of Diana, the Roman Virgin Goddess of the Hunt, created by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the country's finest sculptor and White's dearest pal.
The Grandest Madison Square Garden tells the remarkable story behind the construction of the second, 1890, Madison Square Garden and the controversial sculpture that crowned it. Set amid the magnificent achievements of nineteenth-century American art and architecture, the book delves into the fascinating private lives of the era's most prominent architect and sculptor and the nature of their intimate relationship. Hinman shows how both men pushed the boundaries of America's parochial aesthetic, ushering in an era of art that embraced European styles with American vitality. Situating the Garden's seminal place in the history of New York City, as well as the entire country, The Grandest Madison Square Garden brings to life a tale of architecture, art, and spectacle amid the elegant yet scandal-ridden culture of Gotham's decadent era.
Named among "12 of the Best New Books About Art" by Artnet.com, December 2019.
"Suzanne Hinman's deeply researched account of the building of the second Madison Square Garden by architectural firm McKim, Mead & White transports readers to the surprisingly salacious Gilded Age. Consider the tangled romantic lives of the men involved: married artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens, sculptor of the building's famed nude statue of the goddess Diana, penned love letters to architects Stanford White and Joseph Wells, while having a child with his mistress. And then there's the tale's denouement, the so-called "trial of the century," after White was murdered during a performance at Madison Square Garden. Harry Kendall Thaw claimed the crime was revenge for White's affair with Thaw's wife, the young actress Evelyn Nesbit, but Hinman suggests that the two men may have had a romantic falling out of their own."