William Dunlap available in Hardcover
- Pub. Date:
- University of Massachusetts Press
In this well-substantiated, revisionist study, Maura Lyons addresses the question: What did the phrase "American art" mean in 1834 when William Dunlap published his two-volume History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design in the United States? Although Dunlap's book, replete with the biographies of nearly 300 visual artists, is seen today as the foundational text of American art history, it had actually faded into obscurity by the end of the nineteenth century.
Drawing on manuscript and periodical sources from the period, Lyons furnishes the first full-scale analysis of Dunlap's work, exploring the significance of his book for the American art world and for the nineteenth-century reading public. Tracing the History's origins, production, promotion, and reception, Lyons pushes beyond its current canonical statusthe result of its twentieth-century rediscovery and revivalto reveal the uncertainty originally surrounding the venture. The History represented a speculative bid for cultural authority that grew out of the intersecting ambitions of its author, one wing of the nascent artistic profession, the burgeoning publishing industry, and the rising dominance of New York City.
By revealing the History as an entrepreneurial, partisan, and localized experiment, Lyons reinterprets the book's contents, elaborating on the roles assigned to the artists Benjamin West and John Trumbull and the book's championing of New York's National Academy of Design. Lyons's study thus illuminates the participation of the History in the process of framing a national culture in the United States during the early nineteenth century.
|Publisher:||University of Massachusetts Press|
|Product dimensions:||7.36(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.77(d)|
About the Author
Maura Lyons is assistant professor of art history at Drake University.
What People are Saying About This
A fascinating analysis of William Dunlap's History, Lyons' study represents an important contribution to the history of American art, culture, and publishing in the period 18001850.
Maura Lyons engages intelligently with William Dunlap's larger cultural objectives, mines available evidence to delineate his process of collecting material from artists and getting the book published and marketed, and demonstrates notably how different artists' reactions raised questions about the relationship between artists and public in a newly market-oriented community.