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Damie Stillman

Architectural and decorative arts style that flourished in the USA from shortly after the acknowledgement of independence in the Treaty of Paris (1783) until c. 1820. The term is derived from the period surrounding the creation of the federal constitution in 1787 and was in use in a political sense by that year. Essentially it was a form of Neo-classicism, strongly influenced by manifestations of that style in England and, to a lesser extent, in France; but at times certain more conservative qualities inherited from the previous Colonial period are also present. The inspiration of European, and especially English, Neo-classical architecture was to be expected in a society grounded in that of 18th-century England; but an added impetus was the association often cited at the time between the fledgling American republic and the ancient Roman one.

Although a few indications of European Neo-classical influence are found in the American colonies before the Revolution began in ...


Sumpter Priddy

Also called marbling and graining, imitation painting was “the art of imitating the grain of various fancy woods and marbles” in paint (Whittock, p. 20). The practice was popular for decorating architecture from about 1700 through the early 20th century. After 1810, it was also fashionable for furniture. The first examples appeared about 1700 on the interior walls of major public buildings and in large private houses, where imitation painting tended to embody Baroque preferences for highly figured surfaces. Over time, marbling and graining spread across the social spectrum to include the middling classes, and evolved in style to reflect changing tastes.

The practice of imitation painting declined during the rational culture of mid-18th century America but experienced a resurgence after 1780, when excavations at the Roman towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii revealed painted interiors and spurred renewed interest in Classical culture among the educated. Painters attempted to imitate or allude to real wood, both in color and texture. Inspired by antiquity, imagery was generally reserved in character....


revised by Margaret Barlow

A renewed interest among artists, writers, and collectors between c. 1820 and 1870 in Europe, predominantly in France, in the Rococo style in painting, the decorative arts, architecture, and sculpture. The revival of the Rococo served diverse social needs. As capitalism and middle-class democracy triumphed decisively in politics and the economy, the affluent and well-born put increasing value on the aristocratic culture of the previous century: its arts, manners and costumes, and luxury goods.

Among the earliest artists in the 19th century to appreciate and emulate 18th-century art were Jules-Robert Auguste (1789–1830), R. P. Bonington, Eugène Delacroix, and Paul Huet. For these young artists the Rococo was a celebration of sensual and sexual pleasure and a product of a free and poetic imagination. Looking particularly at the work of Watteau, they sought to reproduce the Rococo capacity for lyrical grace, its sophisticated understanding of colour, and its open, vibrant paint surfaces in their work. These qualities can be seen in such re-creations of 18th-century scenes as Eugène Lami’s ...