Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery

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The American experience—from its colonial beginnings to the modern age—has captured the imagination of all Americans, including its artists. This richly illustrated book explores works from the renowned collections of American paintings, decorative arts, prints, and photographs at the Yale University Art Gallery and creates a vivid portrait of a young country defining itself culturally, politically, and geographically.

Distinguished scholars shed new light on American history by...

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Overview

The American experience—from its colonial beginnings to the modern age—has captured the imagination of all Americans, including its artists. This richly illustrated book explores works from the renowned collections of American paintings, decorative arts, prints, and photographs at the Yale University Art Gallery and creates a vivid portrait of a young country defining itself culturally, politically, and geographically.

Distinguished scholars shed new light on American history by examining some of the most familiar and revered objects in American art—paintings by Trumbull, Peale, Copley, Eakins, Church, and Homer; silver by Revere and Tiffany; furniture by Roux and Connelly; and photographs by Muybridge, among others. The authors discuss how issues of cultural heritage, patriotism, politics, and exploration shaped America’s art as well as its attitudes and traditions.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

Chosen as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2009 by Choice Magazine

Library Journal

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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300122893
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2008
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 11.90 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Helen A. Cooper is the Holcombe T. Green Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture at the Yale University Art Gallery. David McCullough, American historian and bestselling author, is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. 

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