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"Girl at a Sewing Machine", ca. 1921, Edward Hopper (Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid)
From romantic landscapes by Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Cole and the realism of Thomas Eakins and Winslow Homer to the impressionism of Mary Cassatt and the innovations of Georgia O'Keeffe and Charles Sheeler, art historian Karin Alexis explores the breadth and depth of American art from the late-18th to mid-20th centuries. Her illustrated lectures focus on some of the great masters of the period, tracing the development of American art and emphasizing pivotal and representative masterpieces in many styles.
Mar. 7 The Sublime and the Beautiful: The Grandeur of the American Landscape
The 19th century witnessed the triumph of American art, bringing forth a golden age dramatically realized in breathtaking landscape paintings by artists such as Cole, Church, Bierstadt, Duncanson, and Moran. Some works portrayed an idealized vision of nature as a moral force, while others emphasized the American landscape itself—with its mountains, prairies, and vistas—as an expression of culture during the period of continental expansion.
Mar. 14 Realism and Realists: Portraits, Nature, and Genre
From the beginnings of the republic through the early 20th century, masters including Copley, West, Eakins, Homer, and Caitlin revealed the American experience in a bold realism seen in portraiture (some of which was graphically realistic), scenes of ordinary life, and themes of man pitted against nature.
Mar. 21 The American Renaissance: Impressionists and Expatriates
America came of age and became a world power in the 19th century. A profusion of exceptional artists—including expatriates Sargent, Cassatt, and Tanner, among others—created distinctive works reflecting international, largely European influences as well as an independent spirit. The Gilded Age gave rise to greater public and private patronage of the arts, and produced an array of talents from sculptors such as Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and American impressionist, late romantic, and post-impressionist painters, including Inness, Chase, Twachtman, Hassam, Dewing, and Ryder
Mar. 28 The New Age: The Shaping of Early Modernism
Changing technologies, a fascination with the machine, and growing urbanization are part of the backdrop of the new era that spans the turn of the 19th century to the middle years of the next. Its clash and collision of artistic styles created a rich and diverse body of imagery, reflecting influences from modern classicism to a daring new realism. European post-impressionism and radical modernism profoundly influenced domestic art, culminating in American interpretations of abstraction. The works of Hopper, Wood, Benton, Lawrence, O'Keeffe, and Sheeler are examined.
World Art History Certificate core course: Earn 1 credit
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)