American Art in the Age of Industrialization, 1865–1913
This lecture course examines American art and visual culture as it developed in the often-turbulent decades between the end of the Civil War and the outbreak of WWI. During this period, which encompasses the Gilded Age and beginning of the Progressive Era, the industrialization and urbanization of the United States caused severe social and economic upheaval. These transformations, in turn, had profound effects on artistic production. This course will pay special attention to key themes in the history of American art during these years, including tensions between tradition and modernity, nativism and cosmopolitanism, and “high” and “low” culture; changes in art institutions and the professionalization of women artists; artistic approaches to representing race, gender, and class; the growth of mechanized reproduction and new technologies of art-making; and the emergence of abstraction and modernism. Artists studied include Winslow Homer, Edmonia Lewis, Timothy O’Sullivan, James McNeill Whistler, Thomas Eakins, Jacob Riis, Henry Ossawa Tanner, John Singer Sargent, Cecilia Beaux, Mary Cassatt, and Alfred Stieglitz, among others.
PDFs of all required readings are posted to Canvas. For additional background, you may wish to consult the freely-available, open-access textbook, American Encounters. The relevant recommended pages for each class meeting are listed in the calendar "event" entries on the Canvas calendar page.