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Description: Pre-Modernism: Art-World Change and American Culture from the Civil War to the...
Speaking of the emergence of modernism, author Virginia Woolf famously said: "On or about December 1910, human character changed." But was the shift to modernism really so revolutionary? J. M. Mancini argues that it was not. She proposes that the origins of the movement can in fact be traced well into the nineteenth century.

Several cultural developments after the Civil War gradually set the stage for modernism, Mancini contends. New mass art media appeared on the scene, as did a national network of museums and groundbreaking initiatives in art education.These new institutions provided support for future modernists and models for the creators of the avant-garde. Simultaneously, art critics began to embrace abstraction after the Civil War, both for aesthetic reasons and to shore up their own nascent profession. Modernism was thus linked, Mancini argues, to the emergence of cultural hierarchy.

A work of impeccable scholarship and unusual breadth, the book challenges some of the basic ideas about both the origins of twentieth-century modernism and the character of Gilded-Age culture. It will appeal not only to art historians but also to scholars in American history and American studies.
Print publication date January 2005 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780691118130
EISBN 9780300249767
Illustrations 76
Print Status in print
Description: Fellow Men: Fantin-Latour and the Problem of the Group in Nineteenth-Century French...
Focusing on the art of Henri Fantin-Latour (1836–1904) and his colleagues Gustave Courbet, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Frédéric Bazille, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Fellow Men argues for the importance of the group as a defining subject of nineteenth-century French painting. Through close readings of some of the most ambitious paintings of the realist and impressionist generation, Bridget Alsdorf offers new insights into how French painters understood the shifting boundaries of their social world, and reveals the fragile masculine bonds that made up the avant-garde.

A dedicated realist who veered between extremes of sociability and hermetic isolation, Fantin-Latour painted group dynamics over the course of two decades, from 1864 to 1885. This was a period of dramatic change in French history and art—events like the Paris Commune and the rise and fall of impressionism raised serious doubts about the power of collectivism in art and life. Fantin-Latour's monumental group portraits, and related works by his friends and colleagues from the 1850s through the 1880s, represent varied visions of collective identity and test the limits of association as both a social and an artistic pursuit. By examining the bonds and frictions that animated their social circles, Fantin-Latour and his cohorts developed a new pictorial language for the modern group: one of fragmentation, exclusion, and willful withdrawal into interior space that nonetheless presented individuality as radically relational.
Print publication date January 2012 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780691153674
EISBN 9780300249682
Illustrations 169
Print Status in print
Description: The Landscape of Belief: Encountering the Holy Land in Nineteenth-Century American...
This book tells of the nineteenth-century American painters who, along with photographers, archaeologists, writers, evangelists, and tourists, flocked to the biblical Holy Land, a world of striking landscape vistas that reflected, in their eyes, a powerful image of the United States. Here they saw a metaphor for their country: a New World promised land, a divinely favored Protestant nation created by and for a modern "chosen people." Taking these biblical associations as a starting point, John Davis examines the ways in which nineteenth-century Americans looked to the actual landscape of the Holy Land as an extension of their national identity. Through close readings of panoramas, photographs, and conventional easel paintings, he shows how this "sacred topography" became a place to work out competing ideological debates surrounding American exceptionalism, prophetic millennialism, anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish sentiment, and post-Darwinian science.

Drawing on sermons, diaries, travel volumes, and novels, Davis explores the growth of a specific cultural market for landscape imagery of Ottoman Palestine and the manner in which easel painters responded to the popular demand for vernacular representations. Treating little-known painters such as Edward Troy and James Fairman together with major figures including Frederic Church, this volume combines pioneering research and new interpretations.
Print publication date January 1996 (out of print)
Print ISBN 9780691043739
EISBN 9780300249729
Illustrations 107
Print Status out of print
Description: American Painting: From the Armory Show to the Depression
American Painting: From the Armory Show to the Depression is a history of modern painting in the United States in the exciting period between 1913 and 1929—the years when the schools of modernism and conservatism struggled for dominance in American art.

It begins with the emergence of a school of realism, dubbed in derision the Ash Can School, an artistic outgrowth of the liberal reform movement and of the general cultural revolt at the beginning of the twentieth-century. The introduction of modernism through Alfred Stieglitz and his circle and the first great exhibition of modern art at the Armory Show in 1913 is described as a clean break from this establishment American academic tradition. The period ended with the coming of the Depression when the realist tradition reasserted itself in a new generation of American Scene and Regionalist painters.

This book investigates the impact of Fauvism, Cubism, Futurism, Purism, etc., upon American artists; the original Dada and mechanistic experiments of Duchamp and Picabia in this country and their effects; the development of a native school of Cubist Realism; pseudo-scientific theories as a reaction among some more conservative artists to the new movements; and the many experiments and eventual assimilation of modernism by leading artists of the period.
Print publication date January 1970 (out of print)
Print ISBN 9780691003016
EISBN 9780300249699
Illustrations 155
Print Status out of print
Description: Ambitious Form: Giambologna, Ammanati, and Danti in Florence
Ambitious Form describes the transformation of Italian sculpture during the neglected half century between the death of Michelangelo and the rise of Bernini. The book follows the Florentine careers of three major sculptors—Giambologna, Bartolomeo Ammanati, and Vincenzo Danti—as they negotiated the politics of the Medici court and eyed one another's work, setting new aims for their art in the process. Only through a comparative look at Giambologna and his contemporaries, it argues, can we understand them individually--or understand the period in which they worked.

Michael Cole shows how the concerns of central Italian artists changed during the last decades of the Cinquecento. Whereas their predecessors had focused on specific objects and on the particularities of materials, late sixteenth-century sculptors turned their attention to models and design. The iconic figure gave way to the pose, individualized characters to abstractions. Above all, the multiplicity of master crafts that had once divided sculptors into those who fashioned gold or bronze or stone yielded to a more unifying aspiration, as nearly every ambitious sculptor, whatever his training, strove to become an architect.
Print publication date January 2010 (in print)
Illustrations 170
Print Status in print
Description: The Anatomy of Nature: Geology & American Landscape Painting, 1825–1875
Geology was in vogue in nineteenth-century America. People crowded lecture halls to hear geologists speak, and parlor mineral cabinets signaled social respectability and intellectual engagement. This was also the heyday of the Hudson River School, and many prominent landscape painters avidly studied geology. Thomas Cole, Asher Durand, Frederic Church, John F. Kensett, William Stanley Haseltine, Thomas Moran, and other artists read scientific texts, participated in geological surveys, and carried rock hammers into the field to collect fossils and mineral specimens. As they crafted their paintings, these artists drew on their geological knowledge to shape new vocabularies of landscape elements resonant with moral, spiritual, and intellectual ideas.

Rebecca Bedell contributes to current debates about the relationship among art, science, and religion by exploring this phenomenon. She shows that at a time when many geologists sought to disentangle their science from religion, American artists generally sidestepped the era's more materialist science, particularly Darwinism. They favored a conservative, Christianized geology that promoted scientific study as a way to understand God. Their art was both shaped by and sought to preserve this threatened version of the science. And, through their art, they advanced consequential social developments, including westward expansion, scenic tourism, the emergence of a therapeutic culture, and the creation of a coherent and cohesive national identity.

This major study of the Hudson River School offers an unprecedented account of the role of geology in nineteenth-century landscape painting. It yields fresh insights into some of the most influential works of American art and enriches our understanding of the relationship between art and nature, and between science and religion, in the nineteenth century. It will draw a broad audience of art historians, Americanists, historians of science, and readers interested in the American natural landscape.
Print publication date January 2002 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780691102917
EISBN 9780300249675
Illustrations 76
Print Status in print