American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765-1915

Front Cover
Helene Barbara Weinberg, Carrie Rebora Barratt
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009 - Art - 222 pages
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 authors--all distinguished curators and scholars--look at how painters told stories through their selections of settings, players, 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 themes--childhood, 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 art--underscores 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
 

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A Rich History of American Art

User Review  - grady1 - Borders

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 ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

Mary L. Levkoff is Curator of European Sculpture at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She holds degrees from Princeton University and the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University. A specialist in French Renaissance art, she has contributed to such publications as "Germain Pilon et les Sculpteurs Francais de la Renaissance," "The Currency of Fame: Portrait Medals of the Renaissance," and "The Ahmanson Gifts: European Masterpieces from the Collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art." Levkoff is a member of the Societe de l'Histoire de l'Art Francais.

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