Painting

Charles Sheeler found his subject in the architecture of industry. To him, America’s factories were the cathedrals of the modern age.

In the fall of 1927 the Philadelphia advertising agency N. W. Read more >>

It took half a century for his critics to see his subjects as clearly as he did; but today he stands as America’s preeminent portraitist

John Singer Sargent, in common with Holbein and Van Dyck, was an international painter of portraits who did his major work in England. Read more >>
Among the nicer aspects of working at American Heritage is that the editors are paid to look at paintings. We review exhibitions, auction catalogs, museum brochures, and art magazines in hopes of finding historical illustrations for our stories. Read more >>

John White Alexander began his career as an office boy at Harper’s Weekly and rose to be a leading painter of his generation, especially of its women

In the early 1900s John White Alexander was considered one of the four preeminent American painters of his day, the peer of Whistler, Sargent, and E. A. Abbey. Read more >>

A young artist takes on a venerable genre

Few aesthetic disciplines are as exacting as marine art. Consider the problems. The painter of portraits or landscapes can return to the subject again and again to verify shape, color, tone. But water is a moving, constantly changing element. Read more >>

From the North Woods to New Orleans with an artist-reporter of the last century

IN THE ERA BEFORE PHOTOGRAPHS could be reproduced in the press, newspapers and magazines sent “special artists”—the photojournalists of their time—out on assignment. Their on-the-spot drawings were then made into engravings. Read more >>

Turn-of-the-century American painters came to Venice for its ancient splendors and pearly light. In a few years they captured its canals, palaces, and people in a spirit of gentle modernism that looks better than ever.

FOR MUCH OF THE history of the United States, American artists have looked across the Atlantic: for better schooling than they could find at home, for a culture in which art was valued more highly than it was in Puritan America, and often Read more >>

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 >>

…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 >>

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 >>

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.

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

A West Point Gallery

The usual image of U. S. Read more >>
The 407-ton packet Ellerslie left New Orleans on December 30, 1848, on a royage that now would be forgotten save for the discovery of a series of watercolor sketches done by one of the passengers, James Read more >>
By the late 1850’s Frederick Church was the most popular artist in America. Read more >>
The man was Diego Rivera, seen from the rear on his scaffold in an uncharacteristically modest self-portrait at left, and what he was doing in America was expressing his gargantuan contempt for capitalism and its precepts. Read more >>

A gathering of turn-of-the-century paintings

Our cities began as muddy accidents. Read more >>

High on a hill above the Hudson River Frederick Edwin Church indulged his passion for building an exotic dream castle

“Sometimes the desire to build attacks a man like a fever—and at it he rushes,” the successful young landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church wrote from abroad to his friend and patron William H. Osborn in 1868. Read more >>
Kivetoruk Moses spent his youth and middle years zestfully hunting seal, reindeer, and polar bear through the Alaskan snows. He became rich trading in furs and sled dogs in Siberia and his native Cape Espenberg on the Seward Peninsula. Read more >>
In the summer of 1885 a young artist from New York by way of Kansas City found himself resting by a campfire with a couple of prospectors out in Arizona Territory at a time when Geronimo was on the prowl, perhaps “even in our neighborhood.” It was about 9 o’c Read more >>
She was eighteen—pretty and sensitive, to judge by her photograph, taken in 1863. For many another girl, that age would have represented a new chapter in life in the form of a husband, children, a home of her own. Read more >>