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American artists have always found beauty in the people, landscapes, and distinctive cultures that surround them. The paintings included in this exhibit, made between 1850 and 1940, offer unique views of the world and the subjects that inspired their makers.
Their subjects range from the iconic, such as majestic views of the natural world created by artists associated with the so-called Hudson River School, to the unexpected, as seen in the ticket stubs, and peanuts meticulously rendered in realistic detail by trompe l’oeil painters at the turn of the twentieth century.
These works reveal a variety of ways artists envisioned American life and invite visitors to discover.
This exhibit will explore these ideas through 40 works organized around three themes: American History Revisited, American Home Life, and America Public Spaces.
American History Revisited depicts significant moments in U.S. history.
The images are of events and places. They are theatrical and dramatic and help establish grand visions of the nation. They speak to urgent issues.
Works depicting American Home Life illustrate idealized visions of families and domestic spaces. They reveal much about the aspirations for material comfort and fashionable living. These genre paintings include images of mothers and children and meticulous still-lifes that show a bountiful home. They suggest the stability and comfort that Americans aspired to in their own home lives as the world around them changed.
Finally, paintings in Americans Outside, capture the nation’s wonder at the vast and inspiring natural resources as well as the new urban sprawl. These works range from impressionist views of city life to Romantic landscapes.
Taken together, the 40 paintings in the exhibit will offer artists’ views of the grand moments, private spaces that shaped American culture and identity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Visitors to the exhibit will appreciate the styles and techniques artists of the period used to create images and convey ideas.