Fine Arts | American Art, 1860-1900: The Gilded Age
A446 | 22995 | Burns

This course surveys the often-turbulent decades after the Civil War,
when rapidly unfolding developments in American society transformed
the US from a relatively provincial and agrarian republic into an
expanding urban, industrial, and ultimately imperial power.  This
climate of accelerating change and social instability had a profound
impact on art.  By the end of the century, collisions between
tradition and modernity, nativism and cosmopolitanism, and high
culture and popular culture had extensively reshaped the world of
American art, which went from home-grown to high style in little
more than a generation.

	In this class we will examine a number of key players (along
with various satellites) who grappled with the critical aesthetic
and social issues of a tumultuous time. These include Eastman
Johnson, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, William Merritt Chase, James
McNeill Whistler, John Singer Sargent, and Mary Cassatt.  Among the
themes to be examined are the nature of realism; art and commerce;
art and selfhood; racial and sexual politics of art; art for art’s
sake; and the “modernization” of the artist.  The objectives of this
course are to bring students into close engagement with works of
art, modes of criticism, and issues of interpretation, and to
introduce them to recent scholarship in the field.

Assignments/activities:  short papers and reading-response notes, in-
class or take-home exams, research paper.

Texts: TBA