Art for the Middle Classes: America's Illustrated Magazines of the 1840s

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Univ. Press of Mississippi, Feb 3, 2011 - Social Science - 176 pages
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How did the average American learn about art in the mid-nineteenth century? With public art museums still in their infancy, and few cities and towns large enough to support art galleries or print shops, Americans relied on mass-circulated illustrated magazines. One group of magazines in particular, known collectively as the Philadelphia pictorials, circulated fine art engravings of paintings, some produced exclusively for circulation in these monthlies, to an eager middle-class reading audience. These magazines achieved print circulations far exceeding those of other print media (such as illustrated gift books, or catalogs from art-union membership organizations).

Godey’s, Graham’s, Peterson’s, Miss Leslie’s, and Sartain’s Union Magazine included two to three fine art engravings monthly, “tipped in” to the fronts of the magazines, and designed for pull-out and display. Featuring the work of a fledgling group of American artists who chose American rather than European themes for their paintings, these magazines were crucial to the distribution of American art beyond the purview of the East Coast elite to a widespread middle-class audience. Contributions to these magazines enabled many an American artist and engraver to earn, for the first time in the young nation’s history, a modest living through art.Author Cynthia Lee Patterson examines the economics of artistic production, innovative engraving techniques, regional imitators, the textual “illustrations” accompanying engravings, and the principal artists and engravers contributing to these magazines.

 

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Contents

THE PHILADELPHIA PICTORIALS AND AMERICAN VISUAL CULTURE IN THE 1840S
3
ARTISTIC PRODUCTION IN THE 1830S AND 1840S
18
INNOVATIONS TO THE GRAPHIC ARTS IN THE PHILADELPHIA PICTORIALS
37
REGIONAL IMITATORS IN THE NORTHEAST WEST AND SOUTH
55
AMERICAN AUTHORS AND THE MAGAZINE EMBELLISHMENTS
87
COMPETING FOR AUDIENCES AND ORIGINAL ART
119
BATTLING FOR EMBELLISHERS BATTLING OVER ART
142
THE ASCENDANCY OF NEW YORK AND MARKET STRATIFICATION
160
NOTES
169
INDEX
203
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Cynthia Lee Patterson, Bartow, Florida, is assistant professor of English at University of South Florida Polytechnic. Her articles have appeared in American Periodicals, Journal of American History, and the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography.

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