American visual and material culture from 1876 to the mid-20th century.
This course will explore a dynamic period in the history of art and culture in the United States, from the 1870s to the 1950s. Topics will include the increasingly international outlook of American artists; the shifting representation of gender and race during a time of nation building, immigration, and globalization; and the rise of Modernism and abstraction along with the search for roots and artistic heritage in the first half of the twentieth century. We will address representative works by both canonical and lesser known artists, such as Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Cecilia Beaux, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Augustus Saint Gaudens, Robert Henri, Georgia O’Keeffe, Alfred Stieglitz, Stuart Davis, Thomas Hart Benton, Edward Hopper, Dorothea Lange, Augusta Savage, Jacob Lawrence, Diego Rivera, and Jackson Pollock. Rather than an exhaustive survey, this class will consider a relatively small number of key works by each artist and will explore a variety of media—painting, sculpture, photography, and printmaking. The lectures will be supplemented by critical readings that approach the course material from diverse perspectives.