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Elegant Evening at Biltmore

I’ve painted many homes, but never before have I set up my easel before the “Queen of American homes,” the famous Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina – the nation’s largest and most regal residence. Built between 1888 – 1896 for George W. Vanderbilt by the famed architect of European opulence, Robert M. Hunt, the Biltmore House originally sat on a 125,000 acre estate – roughly fifteen percent the size of the state of Rhode Island. Still owned by Vanderbilt heirs, the estate is visited by more than 1,000,000 dazzled tourists each year.

I’m turning back the clock on this setting – perhaps to the time of Biltmore’s social glory. With this in mind, I will feature one or more vintage attired figures that will accomplish two things. Firstly, these figures provide historical accents – a sense of dating this painting to an early day. Secondly, the figures will identify the enormous scale of the property. My hope is to emphasize the grandeur of the Biltmore House while at the same time portraying its warmth as a home.

My challenge in painting Elegant Evening at Biltmore was not just to convey the heroic scale of this fairy-tale castle, but to make it warmly personal. I utilized glittering lights to suggest a festive evening affair in progress. I invite you to climb aboard your elegant coach and join the celebration.

  • Thom has placed a total of seven N’s in Elegant Evening at Biltmore as a symbol of love for his wife Nanette.
  • Elegant Evening at Biltmore is the second work in the Great American Mansions series. The first work in this series is Homestead House which released in 1993.
  • The Biltmore House is a French Renaissance-inspired chateau near Asheville, North Carolina and was built by George Washington Vanderbilt II.
  • At the time, it was the largest privately-owned home in the United States at 175,000 square feet. Still owned by Vanderbilt’s descendants, it stands today as one of the most prominent remaining examples of the Gilded Age.
  • The Biltmore Estate today covers approximately 8,000 acres and is split in half by the French Broad River. It is owned by The Biltmore Company, which is controlled by Vanderbilt’s grandson William A.V. Cecil II. In 1963, it was designated a National Historic Landmark.
  • Vanderbilt’s only child, Cornelia Vanderbilt Cecil, and husband John Amherst Cecil opened Biltmore House to the public on March 15, 1930.
  • The house was occupied less and less until 1956, when it was permanently opened to the public as a house museum.
  • Visitors from all over the world continue to be amazed at the 70,000 gallon indoor swimming pool, bowling alley, turn-of-the-century exercise equipment, two-story library, and other rooms filled with art works, furniture, and 19th century novelties like elevators, forced-air heating, centrally-controlled clocks, fire alarms, and an intercom system.
  • With over 1,000,000 visitors each year, the Biltmore House remains a major tourist attraction in Asheville, North Carolina.
Title Elegant Evening at Biltmore
Published November 2007
Subject Location Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina
Collection Great American Mansions II

Image Sizes

18" x 27"
24" x 36"
28" x 42"

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