Messiness: Embodying Experience in Gilded Age American Landscape Painting
Adrienne Baxter Bell, Marymount Manhattan College
My presentation explores the theme of messiness and its embodiment in the work of such American artists as George Inness, Albert Pinkham Ryder, Ralph Albert Blakelock, and Abbott Handerson Thayer. Despite vehement opposition from critics and despite the established preference for meticulousness in American art, these artists exploited the expressive possibilities of the unpredictable and the inchoate. Working concurrently with William James’ findings on the fundamental role of uncertainty within human thought, and mired in the social and political upheavals of the Gilded Age, these artists devised radically new pictorial strategies to address the culture of uncertainty in which they lived.
Rethinking 'Luminism': Aestheticizing Tendencies in Mid-Nineteenth Century American Landscape Painting
Alan Wallach, College of William and Mary
For more than four decades the term “luminism” has provoked controversy within the field of American art history. In this paper, I argue that “luminism” described, if only vaguely and imprecisely, an aestheticizing trend that developed within the New York art world in the period 1840-1870, in which the rejection of mainstream Hudson River School aesthetics—the work of such artists as Frederic Church, Albert Bierstadt, and Thomas Moran--coincided with collectors’ growing appreciation for landscape sketches and for relatively small paintings of commonplace landscape subjects such as a lake, a beach, or a salt marsh.
The Landscape of Art: Evangelical Space in the American Renaissance
Jerome Tharaud, University of Chicago
This chapter uses a print strategy developed in evangelical print campaigns—a strategy I call “evangelical space”—as a framework for understanding the cultural work performed by the popular literature and paintings of the 1850s. Jasper Francis Cropsey’s 1855 painting Catskill Mountain House is read not as an example of the secularization of mid-century art, but rather as a hybrid of the sacred and the secular that is emblematic of the American Renaissance. The first illustrated edition of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin dramatizes the adaptation of a distinctive practice of “ethical perception” from evangelical print to best-selling fiction.
The seminar conversation may continue informally at a nearby restaurant if the group is interested -- all participants and presenters are welcome to attend this post-seminar gathering.
Papers are pre-circulated electronically to those who plan to attend the seminar in person. For a copy of the paper, e-mail Heather Radke at firstname.lastname@example.org,or call (312) 255-3524.
The Newberry Seminar in American Art and Visual Culture
Co-sponsored by the School of Fine and Performing Arts at Columbia College Chicago, the Department of Art History at Indiana University, and the Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture at theUniversity of Chicago
Scholl Center for
American History and Culture
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