Art & Culture

Most surveys of American painting begin in New England in the eighteenth century, move westward to the Rockies in the nineteenth, and return to New York in the twentieth. Now we’ll have to redraw the map .

TAKING STOCK of painting in the South in 1859, a critic for the New Orleans Daily Cresent concluded glumly, “Artist roam the country of the North, turning out pictures by the hundred yearly, but none come to glean t Read more >>

Antonio Jacobsen, the most prolific of all American marine artists

“Ship portraiture” is a unique form of painting, modest in purpose but exacting in execution, long scorned by serious artists yet calling for particular knowledge and skills often beyond the ken of the fine artist. Read more >>

was the first magazine in America to change its cover for every issue. And these covers may still be the best graphic art magazine has ever produced.

As painting became a respectable profession in America, artists began to celebrate their workplaces

IN THE BEGINNING America had little use for the fine arts. Nomadic painters roamed the land and provided signs, decoration, and the occasional likeness of a sitter. Read more >>

…so Lincoln joked. Actually he was eager to pose for portraits.

George Eastman didn’t think the posters the movie companies supplied were good enough for his theater. So he commissioned a local artist to paint better ones.

IN 1922 GEORGE EASTMAN, the great photographic industrialist, built an elaborate movie house in his hometown of Rochester, New York. Read more >>

There’s a corner of every Americans heart that is reserved for a cartoon cat. Its name might be Garfield, Sylvester, Fritz, or Felix. But there will never be another Krazy.

In 1938, at the age of nine, I discovered one of life’s cruelest ironies: the best comic strips invariably appear in the worst newspapers. Read more >>

A contemporary artist re-creates two and a half centuries of the life of a North Carolina county

Last March a letter arrived at AMERICAN HERITAGE from Barry G. Huffman of Hickory, North Carolina, a subscriber who had some kind words to say about the most recent issue of the magazine. Read more >>

The famous painter of Eastern city life also captured the sunny, spacious world of the Southwest

When John Sloan—one of eight Eastern painters known as the Ashcan school—first came to Santa Fe in 1919, he was looking for new subjects to paint. He found a remote mountain town of about seven thousand citizens, two-thirds of whom were Spanish-speaking. Read more >>
Though he invariably has his way with the small-town girls in a thousand indestructible smutty stories, the actual life the traveling salesman led was not nearly so gleeful. Read more >>
The captivating examples of romantic nineteenth-century valentines on these pages are the handiwork of a lady unusual for her time. Esther Howland was born in 1828 in Worcester, Massachusetts, to Southworth A. Read more >>

The Combat Art of Albert K. Murray

The camera is a marvelous instrument,” says the portrait artist Albert K. Murray, “but when it comes to covering a war, it has its limitations. Read more >>

In the thirties the WPA decided it would be good to know just what the insides of Victorian homes, offices, and stores had looked like. The artist-historian Perkins Harnly created a sumptuous record.

From Germany and Switzerland, farmer-potters transplanted their skills to Pennsylvania and produced a distinctive ceramic found nowhere else in America

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He loved women so much he painted wings on them. After years of neglect, he is now being appreciated.

VISITORS TO a performance by the Kneisel String Quartet in New York City one autumn afternoon in 1894 may well have been distracted from the sonorities of Beethoven by a strangely dressed man in the audience. Read more >>
As three recent films show—one on the atomic bomb, one on women defense workers during the Second World War, one on the government arts projects of the thirties —this history of our times offers film makers arresting opportunities. Read more >>

“I’ll plan anything a man wants,” he said, “from a cathedral to a chicken coop.” The monumental results transformed American architecture

It was common ground among everyone who knew him in the late 1870’s and early 1880’s that Henry Hobson Richardson was one of the great Americans of his day. Read more >>

An Autumn Harvest of American Still Lifes

The 1831 painting exhibition at the Boston Athenaeum was the cause of much rejoicing on the part of the critic for the prestigious North American Review , with a single salient exception: he had no use for still lifes. Read more >>

A preview of a magnificent private collection of nineteenth-century art

Beginning in October, the finest private collection of nineteenth-century American art will be on view in Washington, D. C.’s National Gallery before moving on to the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Read more >>
To Vaux and Olmsted the entire park, with its crags and cascades and meadows, was a single work of art, minutely planned and painstakingly executed. Read more >>

The Smaller, Greener Baltimore of Francis Guy

Sometime in 1799 a luckless British-born artisan “boldly undertook,” in the words of the portraitist Rembrandt Peale, “to be an artist, although he did not know how to draw.” The result of this unprovoked commitment is a delightful series of portraits of the Read more >>

War, patriotism, nature, and changing taste— all have been mirrored in our wallpaper

When George Washington visited Boston in 1789, the new President received a tumultuous greeting. Read more >>

The Vigil That Put an End to Slavery

The crowded, torchlit, tension-filled scene above hangs today in the White House room in which Abraham Lincoln affixed his signature to the Emancipation Proclamation—using a gold nib and writing carefully so that no one, seeing a hesitant line, could ever say Read more >>

A Cheyenne Self-Portrait

In the 1870’s American manufacturers were a long step ahead of the American advertising industry. They were producing goods on a nationwide scale, but there was no national publication in which they could hawk their products. Read more >>

Declaring himself a “thorough democrat” George Caleb Bingham portrayed the American voter with an artist’s eye—and a seasoned politicians savvy

Between 1847 and 1855 George Caleb Bingham completed a half dozen or so canvases that are among the most unusual and interesting documents in the history of American painting. Read more >>

When Winifred Smith Rieber confidently agreed to paint a group portrait of America’s five pre-eminent philosophers, she had no idea it would be all but impossible even to get them to stay in the same room with one another.

Mother was off again, this time to New England to paint the Harvard philosophy department—all five of its members, and on a single canvas. Read more >>

A Texas Pioneer’s Unusual Gift to His City

Henry Rosenberg arrived in Galveston, Texas, in 1843, a nineteen-year-old Swiss fabric apprentice with an eight-dollar-a-week job waiting for him. Read more >>