American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765-1915by H. Barbara Weinberg (Editor), Carrie Rebora Barratt (Editor), Margaret C. Conrads (Contribution by), E. Bruce Robertson (Contribution by)
Accompanying a major exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 17651915 presents nearly two hundred extraordinary pictures that tell stories of ordinary people engaged in commonplace tasks and pleasures. The first overview of the subject in thirty-five years, this richly illustrated volume features/i>
Accompanying a major exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 17651915 presents nearly two hundred extraordinary pictures that tell stories of ordinary people engaged in commonplace tasks and pleasures. The first overview of the subject in thirty-five years, this richly illustrated volume features masterpieces by John Singleton Copley, Charles Willson Peale, William Sidney Mount, George Caleb Bingham, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, John Sloan, and George Bellows, as well as notable examples by some of their key colleagues. These artists captured the temperament of their respective eras, describing and defining in their best works the character of Americans as individuals, citizens, and members of ever-widening communities from the decade before the Revolution to the eve of World War I. The authorsall distinguished curators and scholarslook at how painters told stories through their selections of settings, players, and action, and various narrative devices. They also consider the artists' responses to foreign prototypes, travel and training, changing exhibition venues, and audience expectations. The persistence of certain themeschildhood, marriage, the family, and the community; the attainment and reinforcement of citizenship; attitudes toward race; the frontier as reality and myth; and the process and meaning of making artunderscores evolving styles and standards of storytelling.
Divided into four chronological sections, the book begins with the years surrounding the American Revolution and the birth of the new republic, when painters such as Copley, Peale, and Samuel F. B. Morse incorporated stories within the expressive bounds of portraiture. During the Jacksonian and pre-Civil War decades from about 1830 to 1860, Mount, Bingham, Lilly Martin Spencer, and others painted genre scenes featuring lighthearted narratives that growing audiences for art could easily read and understand. From 1860 to 1877, artists like Eastman Johnson, Homer, and Eakins responded to the Civil War and, going forward, encoded Reconstruction and the Centennial in pictures designed to help heal the nation's spirit. After the Centennial, Homer and Eakinsjoined by colleagues who included William Merritt Chase, Sargent, Cassatt, Sloan, and Bellowsexplored new subjects and narrative modes in the increasingly cosmopolitan age leading up to World War I. The result is a visually compelling account of the stories American artists chose to tell, how they told them, and how those stories have been read by observers over time. [This book was originally published in 2009 and has gone out of print. This edition is a print-on-demand version of the original book.]
- Yale University Press
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- 9.00(w) x 12.00(h) x (d)
Meet the Author
H. Barbara Weinberg is Alice Pratt Brown Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Carrie Rebora Barratt is Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture and Manager of The Henry R. Luce Center for the Study of American Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Margaret C. Conrads is Samuel Sosland Curator of American Art, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. Bruce Robertson is Professor of Art History, University of California, Santa Barbara, and Consulting Curator, Department of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
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AMERICAN STORIES: PAINTINGS OF EVERYDAY LIFE, 1765 - 1915 is a catalogue that accompanied a sensitive and very popular exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Los Angeles County Museum in Los Angeles, California. For those who were unable to see this well-curated exhibition this catalogue is a rich portfolio of the treasures shared. Many of the works in this show are well known to the public from the exposure they have received in art history books, but the joy of seeing these familiar paintings grouped with images not previously known adds greatly to the appreciation of the quality of art that this country has and continues to produce. There are four writers who each take a period of history and discuss and illustrate it with works in the exhibition. Carrie Rebora Barrett's contribution is 'Inventing American Stories, 1765 - 1830, emphasizing the works of John Singleton Copley from his famous portraits to his created allegories such as 'Watson and the Shark' and Charles Willson Peale's impressive 'The Exhumation of the Mastadon'. The next section is written by Bruce Robertson - 'Stories for the Public, 1830 - 1860' - and deals with Yankee idealism and the joys of the works of George Caleb Bingham, William Sidney Mount, Christian Friedich Mayr among others who depicted life in America from all stances. 'Stories of War and Reconciliation, 1860 - 1877' by Margaret C. Conrads features paintings of wars here and abroad, conflicts with the American Indian, the wagon trains West movement, and the wondrous paintings of Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins and William Merritt Chase. The final chapter of this well illustrate book is titled 'Cosmopolitan and Candid Stories, 1877 - 1915, and it is this section that many art lovers will treasure most. The works of Mary Cassatt, many more by Thomas Eakins, the sea images of Homer, and works by Thomas Anshutz, John George Brown, Frederic Remington, George Bellows and a contingency of little known but superb painters of the American life. The book is well designed and constructed and scrupulously documented. This is a fine example of how a museum catalogue can become a gold standard of art history books. It is a fine achievement. Grady Harp