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This catalog accompanies a 2008-09 traveling exhibition (to Louisville, Seattle, and Birmingham) of 200-plus objects from Yale's extensive collection of American art, representing all media and dating from the 1600s to 1900. Thematically arranged by broad chronology, the three sections each feature an introductory essay by a Yale curator or scholar followed by substantial object entries. Parts of the Yale collections (e.g., the silver and the furniture of the Garvan Collection) have been published in detail previously, but this exhibition takes a broader view and draws heavily on the theories of material culture that some of the authors were instrumental in developing. The catalog takes a serious look at the question of the American-ness of American art through objects of generally high quality and always of substantial intellectual interest. Highly recommended for all collections on American art, but note that the horizontal format is too heavy for the binding, which broke loose on the review copy.
—Jack Perry Brown