American Impressionism and Realism: The Painting of Modern Life, 1885-1915by H. Barbara Weinberg, Doreen Bolger, David P. Curry
"A true historical painter ... is one who paints the life he sees about him, and so makes a record of his own epoch." This principle, voiced by the Impressionist Childe Hassam, was heeded by the artists whose contributions are the focus of this volume: the American Impressionists and the Realists of the generation that succeeded them. The authors of the book, which… See more details below
"A true historical painter ... is one who paints the life he sees about him, and so makes a record of his own epoch." This principle, voiced by the Impressionist Childe Hassam, was heeded by the artists whose contributions are the focus of this volume: the American Impressionists and the Realists of the generation that succeeded them. The authors of the book, which accompanies a major exhibition, illuminate the continuities and differences between American Impressionism and Realism, two movements that are traditionally viewed as merely opposed.
They explore the roots of American Impressionism in European art, especially in the French Impressionists' engagement with the contemporary scene. Also elucidated are the evolving responses of both the American Impressionists and Realists to the changing realities of life in the United States at the turn of the century, as the nation shifted rapidly from an agrarian to an increasingly industrialized urban society. In an examination of paintings that represent the country, the city, and the home -- the triad of subjects that engaged the artists -- these responses are shown to reflect a tension between enthusiasm for the new and a sense of loss of the rural past. Studying a wide range of painters, including John Singer Sargent, William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, John Sloan, William Glackens, and George Bellows, the authors offer new insights into the threads of nationalism, optimism, euphemism, and nostalgia that link the two movements. They demonstrate that these painters of modern life endowed their European-rooted art with a distinctly American inflection and produced a selective register of an energetic nation, revealing a complex commitment to Robert Henri's assertion that "painting is the giving of evidence."
The volume brings a new approach to this area of American art history, which has tended to be more descriptive than interpretive: it offers detailed historical and social contexts for the works and movements under consideration as well as penetrating stylistic analyses. Lavish illustrations of the paintings in the exhibition, comparative works and period photographs, a biography of each of the twenty-six artists in the exhibition, a selected bibliography, and an index are included.
- Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
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- 9.97(w) x 11.88(h) x 1.63(d)
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