American Gilded Age · Essay · Works on Paper

‘Medium Specificity’ in Nineteenth Century Watercolors: Winslow Homer and Julian Alden Weir

In the watercolor Autumn Trees from 1878, Winslow Homer nicked the surface of his drawing to create curt, white marks seen across the swath of grass in the foreground of the scene. This enlivening technique, though present in the work of other artists including J. M. W. Turner, is unusual for Homer. It is likely the… Continue reading ‘Medium Specificity’ in Nineteenth Century Watercolors: Winslow Homer and Julian Alden Weir

American Gilded Age · American Impressionism · Essay

Aesthetics of the Nude: Childe Hassam and George Ault

In his 1988 treatise on Pablo Picasso’s painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), art historian Leo Steinberg asks us, “Are the anatomies of these women… a matter of changing taste, or of substituting the abstract expressiveness of sharp angles for anatomical curves?”[1] The subtext of Steinberg’s query is clear: is it the way the nude is… Continue reading Aesthetics of the Nude: Childe Hassam and George Ault

American Impressionism · American Women Artists · Essay

Mary Fairchild Low & Women Artists During WWI

Like their male peers, women artists depicted the atrocities of World War I, which was characterized by muddy land battles and stifling trench warfare, from a diversity of vantage points. Several of these iconic works were commissioned from the women directly by the Imperial War Museum in London, where many of them are still located.… Continue reading Mary Fairchild Low & Women Artists During WWI

American Impressionism · American Women Artists · Essay

Marguerite Zorach and the Park Avenue Cubists

Marguerite Zorach, Flowers and Shells II, 1956, Hawthorne Fine Art, New York City. When we discuss women artists, it is crucial to remember that their careers were often defined by limited access to education and proper means for exhibition. In the case of Marguerite Zorach, who was born in Santa Rosa, California in 1887, the artist was… Continue reading Marguerite Zorach and the Park Avenue Cubists

American Impressionism · Essay · New York City

Picturing Public Space in New York City circa 1900

Artists have been recording the act of ‘promenading’ for display in public spaces since its rise in popularity in the late eighteenth century. The great French flaneur Constantin Guys (1805-1892) made several works depicting a promenade, which in Paris was “at once the activity of taking a stroll or a horse or carriage tour, and… Continue reading Picturing Public Space in New York City circa 1900

American Gilded Age · American Impressionism · Essay

Viewing New York in the Interwar Period

New York City of the late 1920s and 1930s – an era bracketed by World Wars – witnessed cultural change colored by societal contradictions. A unique combination of ethnic diversity, white-collar industries, and concentrated wealth made the city a playground for the intellectual elite. Accordingly, “writers, painters, and musicians were increasingly drawn to the city”… Continue reading Viewing New York in the Interwar Period

American South · Essay

The Sentimental South in American Painting of the 1920s

The 1920s, celebrated as the ‘Roaring Twenties,’ continue live in the American imagination as an iconic and indulgent era that critics self-consciously commented on prior to its conclusion. Accordingly, “even before the end of the 1920s historians had begun to write the history of the decade and to offer characterizations that have lingered ever since,”… Continue reading The Sentimental South in American Painting of the 1920s