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Article

M. Sue Kendall

Term used to describe scenes of typical American life painted in a naturalistic vein from c. 1920 until the early 1940s. It applies to both Regionalism and Social Realism in American painting, but its specific boundaries remain ambiguous. The phrase probably derived from Henry James’s collection of essays and impressions, The American Scene (London, 1907), published upon James’s own rediscovery of his native land after 21 years as an expatriate. The term entered the vocabulary of fine arts by the 1920s and was applied to the paintings of Charles Burchfield during 1924.

In the two decades following World War I, American writers and artists began to look for native sources for the aesthetic and spiritual renewal of their modern technological civilization. This search engaged and activated many thoughtful and creative people in the 1920s and 1930s and resulted in that flurry of activity that Waldo Frank (1889–1967) discussed as ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1938, in New York.

Painter, watercolourist. Urban landscapes.

John Baeder paints in an exaggerated realist style which places him among the Hyperrealists. He enjoys painting typically American places, such as small tourist camps and converted trucks, buses or trailers used for selling hamburgers by the side of the road or in towns....

Article

Anne K. Swartz

(b Richmond, VA, June 25, 1931; d Oneonta, NY, Aug 29, 2013).

American painter. Beal studied at the College of William and Mary, Norfolk, VA, before going on to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago. In 1965, he began having solo exhibitions at the Allan Frumkin Gallery, later Frumkin/Adams Gallery and then George Adams Gallery, which had venues in New York City and Chicago, continuing to exhibit with them into the 21st century. Like many artists working in the 1960s, he repudiated the abstract, then so current in the art world, and favored instead the kind of “New Realism” being espoused by artists such as Philip Pearlstein, among others. His art focuses on the figure indoors, usually rendered up-close in a compact interior environment. The colors are usually vivid and the lines often dominant.

Beal is known primarily as a painter, but in addition to painting and prints, Beal produced two major public art monuments. The first was a series of four murals titled ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1932, in San Francisco.

Painter.

With sharp and almost photographic realism, Robert Bechtle paints glowing shiny cars, depicting every detail with extreme precision. He has also painted scenes from everyday life, which are often autobiographical. After studying at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, he taught at the San Francisco State University for 30 years....

Article

Janet Bishop

(b San Francisco, CA, May 14, 1932).

American painter. Native of the San Francisco Bay Area, known for careful observation and explicit use of snapshot-like photographic source material for paintings of family, cars, and residential neighborhoods. The artist rose to national and international prominence in early 1970s as part of the Photorealist movement (see Photorealism).

From the 1960s, Bechtle pursued a quiet realism based on the things he knew best, translating what seem to be ordinary scenes of middle-class American life into paintings. Following an early childhood in the Bay Area and Sacramento, his family settled in 1942 in Alameda, an island suburb adjacent to Oakland where his mother would occupy the same house for almost 60 years. The neighborhood appears in many of Bechtle’s paintings.

Bechtle earned both his BFA (1954) and his MFA (1958) at Oakland’s California College of Arts and Crafts, where he studied graphic design and then painting. During his student years and into the 1960s, Bechtle was influenced by Pop art’s precedent for the use of commercial subject matter and techniques. He was likewise interested in Bay Area figuration, especially the subjects and structure of paintings by ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1902, in Delaware; died 1986.

Painter. Figure compositions. Murals.

Dunbar D. Beck was a Naturalist painter from Ohio. He was a Professor at Yale, but in 1940 he settled in Sacramento, California. He exhibited at the New York World's Fair in ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1935; died 1995.

Painter.

Charles Bell practises the technique of photorealism, often featuring unusual objects, even children's mechanical toys, avoiding the stereotype of Hyper-Realism by starting from an existing reality that is either ready-made or already at two removes thanks to photography. He has taken part in group exhibitions on Hyper-Realism at the Institute of Arts in Kalamazoo, the South Bend Art Center, the Springfield Art Museum (Missouri), the Dartmouth College Museums and Galleries, Hanover, and the DeCordova Museum, Lincoln (Massachusetts)....

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1930, in New York; died 2002, in New York.

Painter.

In 1971, Richard Bernstein showed his paintings in the Exhibition of Realist Painters at the Miami Museum in Florida, which officially confirmed the re-emergence of sharply realistic painting in the USA....

Article

Marisa J. Pascucci

(b Philadelphia, PA, March 1, 1890; d New York, NY, Feb 12, 2002).

American painter. Raised in Philadelphia she studied at the Philadelphia College of Design for Women (now Moore College of Art & Design) under Elliott Daingerfield (1859–1932), Daniel Garber (1880–1958), Samuel Murray (1869–1941), Harriet Sartain (1873–1957), and Henry B. Snell and graduated in 1911. With her mother, she toured Europe in 1905 and 1912. After returning from her second trip to Europe she settled in New York where her father had recently relocated the family. She lived at home and studied briefly at Art Students League taking life and portrait classes with William Merritt Chase. She eventually established her own studio in Manhattan and married William Meyerowitz (1898–1981), a painter and etcher. She was associated with the members of The Eight and part of the Ashcan school. She was an original member of the Philadelphia Ten—a group of female painters and sculptors schooled in Philadelphia who exhibited together annually, sometimes more often, from ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 9 March 1938, in Chicago.

Painter.

Tom Blackwell's early work was abstract, but influenced by Pop Art, he moved towards photorealism and began to paint large-scale works, which often featured motorcycles, cars and planes.

1966, Psychedelic Art, Riverside Museum, New York...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1930.

Painter. Genre scenes, local scenes.

Harold Bruder studied at the Cooper Union in New York. He began exhibiting in 1962. Since 1968, he has been part of a revival of the American realist tradition, as practised by post 19th-century American academic painters. Like them, Bruder paints scenes of everyday life in a verist, almost photographic style, producing a seemingly objective portrayal of American life in the 1970s....

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1877, in Gardner (Massachusetts); died 1970.

Painter (gouache/mixed media), illustrator. Landscapes with figures.

Harrison Cady lived for many years with his father, who was a naturalist, and made close studies of animals and insects. He worked as an illustrator for ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1935, in Brooklyn (New York City).

Painter. Urban landscapes.

Robert Cottingham studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He has been staging solo exhibitions in the USA since 1968.

His painting is Hyperrealist in style and based on photographs. Urban signage is the constant theme of his work. The layout of most of his paintings is based on low-angled, off-centre views, often cutting off the subject. The meaning of the signs is of little interest to Cottingham, who is more concerned with their physical reality, the style of the lettering and their integration into the space of the canvas. His approach is not one of strict Realism but a stylisation of the real, using colours in flat tints....

Article

James C. Cooke

(b Boston, MA, Nov 21, 1843; d Waverley, MA, Jan 15, 1909).

American painter. Currier first studied art in the late 1860s after working briefly as a stone-cutter (his father’s profession) and as a banking apprentice. In 1869, after a short stay in England, he arrived in Antwerp, where he studied at the Koninklijke Academie and benefited especially from the example of Antoine Wiertz. Currier visited Paris in the spring of 1870, perhaps intending to undertake a lengthy period of study. With the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in August 1870, however, he moved to Munich, where he studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste until 1872. He became part of the American contingency of Munich painters, which included Frank Duveneck, Walter Shirlaw and William Merritt Chase. Like them, he became a notable practitioner of Munich realism as taught by Wilhelm Leibl and others. To this style, based on the chiaroscuro and dramatic brushwork of Frans Hals, Currier brought an expressionistic, individual manner, bolder in technique and more emotional and visionary in character. The ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1946, in New York.

Painter.

Benefiting from the success of Hyperrealism, Alan Dworkowitz exhibited paintings representing close-ups of motorbikes, executed with photographic precision, in the USA in 1972 and 1973. This subject evokes the canvases of Parrish, but without their wealth of detail. Dworkowitz is mentioned in Udo Kulterman's book on Hyperrealism....

Article

Elizabeth Johns

(Cowperthwaite)

(b Philadelphia, PA, July 25, 1844; d Philadelphia, June 25, 1916).

American painter, sculptor and photographer. He was a portrait painter who chose most of his sitters and represented them in powerful but often unflattering physical and psychological terms. Although unsuccessful throughout much of his career, since the 1930s he has been regarded as one of the greatest American painters of his era.

His father Benjamin Eakins (1818–99), the son of a Scottish–Irish immigrant weaver, was a writing master and amateur artist who encouraged Thomas Eakins’s developing talent. Eakins attended the Central High School in Philadelphia, which stressed skills in drawing as well as a democratic respect for disciplined achievement. He developed an interest in human anatomy and began visiting anatomical clinics. After studying from 1862 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where instruction was minimal, Eakins went to Paris to enrol at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, in the studio of Jean-Léon Gérôme. From 1866 to the end of ...

Article

American, 19th–20th century, male.

Born 25 July 1844, in Philadelphia; died 25 June 1916, in Philadelphia.

Painter, sculptor. Nudes, portraits, genre scenes, sporting subjects.

Realism.

Thomas Cowperthwaite Eakins’ father was a writing master in Philadelphia. Between 1861 and 1866, he enrolled in a drawing course at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and at the same time followed a course in anatomy at the medical faculty. At Jefferson Medical College, he attended and participated in dissections and produced studies of nudes. In 1866, he went to Paris, enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts, and spent over three years working in Jean-Léon Gérôme’s studio. His meticulous attention to detail and taste for drawing gave him an advantage at the school, an institution that was still dominated by the art of Ingres. He also attended the atelier of Léon Bonnat, who stressed anatomical exactitude. After a trip to Spain, where he was impressed by Ribera and Velázquez, he returned to Philadelphia in 1870. In 1877, he was appointed professor of drawing at the Pennsylvania Academy of Art. In 1886, a dispute about his decision to use a male nude model in a mixed class led to his forced resignation. In the summer of 1887, he made a 10-week trip to the Dakota Badlands. He became an isolated painter, painting subjects acceptable to the larger public but where the introduction of nudes was unavoidable. An example is ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1944, in Long Beach (California).

Painter.

Don Eddy studied at the University of California in Santa Barbara, then at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. He moved to New York in 1972.

Hyperrealism appeared in the USA during the late 1960s, in California and New York. It was a reaction against the avant-garde movements of Conceptual Art, Land Art and Arte Povera, which abandoned painting and its conventional media. It marked a return to a more traditional technique and to a figurative representation, but a direct and efficient one, insofar as Hyperrealism aims to reproduce reality as faithfully as possible, with a sense of precision close to photography. This pictorial movement has specifically American roots, with the Ash Can School at the turn of the 20th century, the Precisionists of the 1920s and the American Scene painters such as Edward Hopper....

Article

Mark W. Sullivan

(b Long Beach, CA, Nov 4, 1944).

American painter and printmaker. Eddy studied at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu (BFA, 1967, MFA, 1969) and came to prominence in the early 1970s as an exponent of Photorealism, producing airbrushed paintings based on photographs of automobiles (e.g. Untitled, 1971; Aachen, Neue Gal.), the displays in shop windows or still-lifes, as in New Shoes for H (1973; Cleveland, OH, Mus. A.). He treated similar subjects in screenprints and in colour lithographs such as Red Mercedes (1972; see 1973 exh. cat., p. 35). Rather than basing a painting or print on a single photograph, as was the case with other photorealists, Eddy would work from as many as 40 photographs to ensure a consistently sharp focus for his often spatially complex images.

From the 1980s Eddy’s focus shifted away from photorealism towards metaphysics, with images placed in porteic relationships to one another; describing his art as ‘echoing ecosystems’....

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1932, in Evanston (Illinois).

Painter.

Richard Estes studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, then in New York, where he lived from 1968.

It was around 1970 that Hyperrealism, in which Estes broadly participated, started to form the subject of exhibitions and gain public attention. Competing in terms of the accuracy of detail and in the abrupt description of reality, taken from earlier photographs, Hyperrealist works, and the canvases of Richard Estes in particular, started by seducing and surprising with their mastery of technique. Nevertheless, Estes’ canvases break free most of the time from reality as it is conceived through the subtle use of reflections. He mainly tackles subjects from urban life: the metro, streets, cars, shops, but all of them void of human presence. In the case of the frontages and shop displays, he pays great attention to reflections, such as reflections of the street in the glass window, which even shows the opposite window in which the painted window is reflected, closely combining the described reality and its image. The success achieved by this type of painting has caused questions to be asked as to the real motivations behind such painting. These questions were directly tackled at the ...