The Amorous Art Of Esther Howland

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. Howland, a descendant of one of the Pilgrim fathers who was a prosperous stationer and bookseller. In 1845 she entered Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley, Massachusetts, which had opened its doors only eight years earlier.Read more »

A Painter At War

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. The artist’s imagination can go where the lens cannot and adds a unique distillate to everything he paints.” Born in 1906 at Emporta, Kansas, Murray was already a well-known painter when he joined the Navy shortly after Pearl Harbor as one of only six American Navy combat artists.Read more »

Interior America

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.

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Family Platters

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


THE YEAR 1983 marks the three hundredth anniversary of the initial German settlement in the United States at Germantown, Pennsylvania. To celebrate, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Winterthur Museum have mounted a comprehensive exhibit of Pennsylvania German art dating from 1683 to 1850. The show includes everything from furniture and weapons to printed books and Fraktur .Read more »

Angel In The Parlor: The Art Of Abbott Thayer

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. In contrast to the stylish appearance of the rest of the music lovers, he wore a rumpled corduroy hunting suit, a battered felt hat, rubber boots, and a frayed handkerchief wound round his head and tied under his chin, as if to relieve a toothache.Read more »

History And The Imagination

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. Footage shot on the spot supplies a measure of raw actuality, and survivors are still available for interview. The real problem is to give abundant but diffuse materials a shape and structure. This is not, however, a problem that automatically solves itself. Read more »

Henry Hobson Richardson

“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. It was not that he ever talked big—that would have been quite out of character—but that he looked big, thought big, and built big. Read more »

Painters Of Plenty

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 »

An American Perspective

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. It has been assembled by Julian and Jo Ann Ganz of Los Angeles; he is a trustee and chairman of the acquisitions committee at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and together they founded that museum’s American Art Council, a group of local collectors who support museum projects.Read more »

The Painter’s Park

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. So it is particularly fitting that a nonprofit group called the Central Park Conservancy chose to raise funds by mounting an exhibition of paintings of the park from its beginnings to the present day. Most of the pictures in this portfolio have been drawn from that show, which was held at New York’s Hirschl & Adler Galleries last spring. Read more »