- March 05, 2016
The American School: Artists and Status in the Late Colonial and Early National Era
What did it mean to be an American artist in the 18th- and early-19th-century transatlantic world? In this first comprehensive art-historical study of the subject, Susan Rather examines the status of artists from different geographical, professional, and material perspectives: portrait painting in Boston and London, the trade of art in Philadelphia and New York, the negotiability and usefulness of colonial American identity in Italy and London, and the shifting representation of artists in and from the former British colonies after the Revolutionary War, when London remained the most important cultural touchstone.
The book interweaves nuanced analysis of well-known artists (John Singleton Copley, Benjamin West, and Gilbert Stuart, among others) with accounts of non-elite painters and ephemeral texts and images such as painted signs and advertisements, all well represented in this richly illustrated book. Throughout, Rather questions the validity of the term “American,” which she sees as provisional—the product of an evolving, multifaceted cultural construction.
An Afternoon with the American School
Sunday, April 10th
Refreshments served at 2pm; talk begins at 2:30pm
Dr. Rather will speak on both the contents and the process of creating the book and will sign copies after her talk. Copies will be available for sale with a 10% discount for current members of the Friends of the Neill-Cochran House Museum. Cash, check, and credit cards all accepted.
About the Author
Susan Rather is Professor of Art History at The University of Texas at Austin. Her recent book was published by Yale University Press in association with the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.