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Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Oakland, CA, 1893; d. Shiraz, Iran, 25 Jan. 1977).

American historian of Iranian art. While studying mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, Ackerman met and eventually married Arthur Upham Pope, with whom she had taken courses in philosophy and aesthetics. In 1926 she and Pope organized the first ever exhibition of Persian art at the Pennsylvania Museum and helped create the First International Congress of Oriental Art. In 1930 Ackerman was stricken with polio but taught herself to walk again. They were instrumental in preparing the 1931 Persian Art Exhibition at Burlington House, London, and the Second International Congress of Iranian Art and Archaeology, as well as the Third Congress in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in 1935 and the exhibition of Iranian art at the Iranian Institute in New York in 1940. She visited Iran for the first time in 1964, when the shah of Iran invited Pope to revive the Asia Institute; it was associated with Pahlavi University in Shiraz until ...

Article

Grischka Petri

American institution and art school promoting fine art that was active between 1802 and 1841 in New York. The Academy was the second art academy established in the USA, following the Columbianum Academy of Philadelphia. It was founded in 1802 as the New York Academy of the Fine Arts by its first president, mayor Edward Livingston, and his brother Robert R. Livingston, president from 1804 to 1813. The Academy’s first task was to procure plaster casts from antique statues in the Musée du Louvre, Paris. With the exception of this permanent exhibition, however, the institution largely languished. In 1804 it changed its name to the American Academy of the Arts, finally being incorporated in 1808.

After his return to the USA in 1815, John Trumbull became a main force behind the Academy’s reactivation. In 1816, its first exhibition in new rooms was highly successful. Succeeding DeWitt Clinton as president in ...

Article

Leland M. Roth

(b Detroit, MI, July 7, 1869; d Southampton, NY, Oct 18, 1956).

American architect, urban planner and writer. Atterbury studied at Yale University, New Haven, CT, and travelled in Europe. He studied architecture at Columbia University, New York and worked in the office of McKim, Mead & White before completing his architecture studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Atterbury’s early work consisted of suburban and weekend houses for wealthy industrialists, such as the Henry W. de Forest House (1898) in Cold Springs Harbor on Long Island, NY. De Forest was a leader in the philanthropic movement to improve workers’ housing, an interest that Atterbury shared; through him Atterbury was given the commission for the model housing community of Forest Hills Gardens, NY, begun in 1909 under the sponsorship of the Russell Sage Foundation; the co-planners and landscape designers were the brothers John Charles Olmsted (1852–1920) and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr (1870–1957), the sons of Frederick Law Olmsted. Atterbury developed a system of precast concrete panels to build a varied group of multiple units and town houses suggesting an English country hamlet. He continued his research into prefabrication largely at his own expense throughout his life....

Article

(b Elgin, 1838; d New York, 1925).

Scottish architect, designer and writer. Trained as an architect, he moved to Liverpool, Lancs, in 1856 and set up an architectural practice with his brother William James Audsley (b 1833) in 1863. With him he wrote Handbook of Christian Symbolism (1865), and together they designed a number of buildings in and around Liverpool, among them the Welsh Presbyterian Church, Prince’s Road, Toxteth (1865–7), Christ Church, Kensington (1870), and the church of St Margaret, Belmont Road, Anfield (1873). For the merchant William Preston they designed the church of St Mary (1873) in the grounds of his house, Ellel Grange, Lancs. Other commissions were for a synagogue and a tennis club. He was among the earliest publishers to exploit the graphic potential of chromolithography, and, contrary to other major books on ornament, he made a case for classifying designs by their basic motif rather than by nationality. He was an expert on Japanese art, lecturing on the subject and between ...

Article

Leland M. Roth

(Esther)

(b East Hampton, NY, Sept 6, 1800; d Elmira, NY, May 12, 1878).

American writer. Daughter of the influential Presbyterian minister, Lyman Beecher (1775–1863), she was one of eight children. The education of women was her mission; she focused on making them better writers, speakers, but most especially, more efficient household managers and homemakers. Her books included works on improving domestic design. In The Elements of Mental and Moral Philosophy (1831) she advanced her view of the superiority of women, and the following book, A Treatise on Domestic Economy (1841), was enormously popular. The house designs she began to publish in 1841 were conventional spatially and technically. She rapidly improved her architectural knowledge and in 1869 published with her sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–96), her most influential book, The American Woman’s Home. Included were plans for a model house arranged to maximize functional use and to minimize housekeeping drudgery. The latest inventions were incorporated, including water-closets, indoor plumbing, ventilation systems, central heating and gas illumination. Beecher also reproduced plans for a tenement house and settlement houses for the urban poor, as well as schemes for a suburban church, schoolhouse and a residence for two female missionary teachers. There is also discussion of a Model Christian Neighbourhood, in which ten to twelve families share a common bakehouse and laundry with mechanized washing equipment....

Article

Jack Quinan

(b Hartland, CT, June 15, 1773; d Springfield, MA, July 26, 1845).

American architect and writer. Benjamin was one of the most influential architect–writers of the first half of the 19th century in the USA and was trained as a housewright in rural Connecticut between 1787 and 1794. Two of his earliest commissions, the carving of Ionic capitals (1794) for the Oliver Phelps House in Suffield, CT, and the construction of an elliptical staircase (1795) in Charles Bulfinch’s Connecticut State Capitol at Hartford, reveal an exceptional ability with architectural geometry that was to help to determine the direction of his career. Benjamin worked as a housewright in a succession of towns along the Connecticut River during the 1790s. In 1797, dissatisfied with the publications of William Pain, an English popularizer of the Neo-classical style of Robert Adam, Benjamin wrote The Country Builder’s Assistant, a modest handbook for carpenters that was the first such work by an American writer. In ...

Article

(b Argos, Greece, Feb 13, 1837; d Burlington, VT, July 19, 1914).

American writer and artist. Private lessons in painting led Benjamin to illustrate many of his writings on art and travel. After graduating from Williams College, Williamstown, MA, in 1859 he served as assistant librarian in the New York State Library. He wrote his first book on art, What Is Art or Art Theories and Methods Concisely Stated, in 1877, followed by three articles published in Harper’s Monthly Magazine concerning art in Europe. These articles, addressing English, French, and German contemporary art, formed the basis of Contemporary Art in Europe, also published in 1877. Thereafter he wrote Our American Artists (1879) and Art in America: A Critical and Historical Sketch (1880), as well as several articles for Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. Benjamin’s writings tended to champion recent art. The second series of Our American Artists, written for young people, provided a helpful critical approach to, as well as much information on, contemporary artists. Besides illustrating many of his articles he enjoyed some success as a marine painter....

Article

Margaret Moore Booker

(b Butrimonys, Alytus County, Lithuania, June 26, 1865; d Settignano, Italy, Oct 6, 1959).

American art historian, critic, and connoisseur. Berenson was perhaps the single most influential art historian in the USA for much of the 20th century. As the leading scholar and authority on Italian Renaissance art, his opinion greatly influenced American art museums and collectors, whom he guided in the purchase of many important works of art. His pupils and disciples became the curators of many of the world’s great museums. His dealings with art galleries also made him a highly controversial figure.

Born to Albert and Julia Valvrojenski in Lithuania, Berenson immigrated to Boston, MA, with his family in 1875, at which time his surname was changed to Berenson. Later called ‘BB’ by friends and family, he dropped the ‘h’ from his first name around 1915. Jewish by birth, he converted to Christianity and was baptized in 1885. He attended Boston Latin School, Boston University, and finally Harvard University, where he studied under Charles Eliot Norton and received a BA in ...

Article

Aldona Jonaitis

(b Minden, Westphalia, July 1858; d New York, Dec 21, 1942).

American anthropologist and art historian of German birth. Trained as a physical scientist at the University of Kiel, he became interested in anthropology soon after receiving his doctorate in 1881. He immigrated to the USA in 1888 and became curator of ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York in 1895. The following year he also began to teach at Columbia University, where he worked full-time from 1905 until his retirement in 1936.

Boas’s first publications on art consisted largely of descriptions of artefacts made by the native population of the north-west coast of North America (see Native North American art, §XVIII), but by 1888 he had begun to reconstruct the history of this art. Between 1896 and 1900 he demonstrated the inadequacy of the then-prevalent evolutionistic theory that art degenerated from realism to abstraction and proposed that conventionalization in the art of the northwest coast resulted from attempts to represent as many characteristics of an animal as possible even if this resulted in a distortion of the image, as, for example, when an animal was split down the middle and flattened out so that both sides could be depicted in a two-dimensional medium. After ...

Article

Susanne Anderson-Riedel

(b St Louis, MO, March 17, 1933; d Los Angeles, CA, Oct 18, 2008).

American art historian. Boime, a leading social art historian in the 20th century, received his education at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) (BA in Art History, 1961) and Columbia University (MA 1963; PhD 1968). He taught at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook (1968–72), SUNY Binghamton (1972–8), and at UCLA (1978–2008). Boime’s publications focus primarily on 19th-century European art, interpreted from a political, social and cultural perspective. Boime also published in the areas of 19th- and 20th-century American art. Central to his scholarship is the historical and socio-political expression of the aesthetic object. His research highlights previously unknown or unrecognized artists and subjects, such as the French academic painter Thomas Couture (1980) or the representation of blacks in 19th-century art (1990). Boime offers radically new readings for major artists, monuments and movements, with a focus on the historical value of the aesthetic object. In his first book, ...

Article

Christine Mehring

(b Cologne, 1941).

American art historian, critic, and teacher of German birth. The significance of Buchloh’s work lies in its expansion of the modern art canon, demonstration of a critical potential of art and straddling of micro and macro levels of history. Buchloh’s scholarship on art made in postwar Europe or from unconventional media has broadened previous, particularly American, understandings of modern art. While a committed historian, Buchloh always also assumes the role of critic, insisting on the critical responsibility of art vis à vis history and the present while cautious about its limits. He maintains that one core function of art is to present the illusion, if not the realization, of a suspension of power (Neo-Avantgarde, p. xxiv). In keeping with this, Buchloh often writes on artists of his own generation whose practice and thinking he knows intimately, and on artists who share his commitment, most importantly conceptual artists of the late 1960s and 1970s. Buchloh’s combined roles as historian and critic spearheaded the merger of art history and art criticism that today defines writing on postwar art. Finally, Buchloh’s thinking interweaves macro and micro perspectives on art, anchoring broad historical arguments in formal and material details, or demonstrating, as in his writings on the “neo-avantgarde,” historical and hermeneutic differences between seemingly similar artistic practices and similarities between ones seemingly different. Buchloh, in short, demonstrates to many why art matters....

Article

Judith Zilczer

Journal devoted to photography that was published from 1903 to 1917. Camera Work evolved from a quarterly journal of photography to become one of the most ground-breaking and influential periodicals in American cultural history. Founded in January 1903 by photographer Alfred Stieglitz as the official publication of the Photo-Secession, the journal originally promoted the cause of photography as a fine art. As Stieglitz, its editor and publisher, expanded the journal’s scope to include essays on aesthetics, literature, criticism and modern art, Camera Work fueled intellectual discourse in early 20th-century America.

Camera Work mirrored the aesthetic philosophy of its founder Alfred Stieglitz. The journal resulted from his decade-long campaign to broaden and professionalize American photography. Serving for three years as editor of American Amateur Photographer (1893–6), Stieglitz championed the expressive potential of photography and advocated expanded exhibition opportunities comparable to those available in European photographic salons. In 1897, when the Society of Amateur Photographers merged with the New York Camera Club, Stieglitz convinced the enlarged organization to replace their modest leaflet with a more substantial quarterly journal, Camera Notes, which he edited until ...

Article

Joseph R. Kopta

(b Neenah, WI, June 28, 1894; d Bedford, MA, March 4, 1984).

American architectural historian. Conant was the leading 20th-century American architectural historian specializing in Romanesque architecture, and was the primary archaeologist of the monastic complex at Cluny. He earned his degrees from Harvard, including a BA in Fine Arts in 1915, an MArch. in 1919, and a PhD with a dissertation on the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, supervised by Arthur Kingsley Porter, in 1926. He trained in archaeological practices in 1926 at the excavations of Chichén Itzá and Pueblo Bonito before directing excavations in earnest at Cluny starting in 1928. He was Professor of Architecture Emeritus at Harvard University, retiring from teaching in 1954.

An active member of the Medieval Academy of America (which funded his excavations after initial funding from the Guggenheim Foundation), Conant published frequent field reports documenting the excavations of Cluny as articles in Speculum. Additionally, Conant published a monograph on the sum of the excavations in ...

Article

(b San Francisco, Jan 8, 1873; d New York, April 21, 1954).

American architect, teacher and writer. He studied engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1895, and then went to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris (1896), where he entered the atelier of Jean-Louis Pascal and received his diploma in 1900. In 1901 he joined the New York office of Cass Gilbert as a draughtsman, later going into partnership (1903–12) with F. Livingston Pell and, until 1922, with Frank J. Helmle. His earliest major commissions were won in competitions, including those for the Maryland Institute (1908–13) in Baltimore, a variation on a Florentine palazzo, and the classical Municipal Group building (1916–17) in Springfield, MA. From 1907 to the mid-1930s he lectured at the Columbia School of Architecture, which followed the Beaux-Arts educational system. The vertically expressive Bush Terminal Tower (1920–24) on 42nd Street, New York, with its prominent position and slight setbacks in buff, white and black brick, marked his début as an influential skyscraper designer and he maintained his leading position through the 1920s and 1930s. Both in his work and writing for the media, Corbett explored the creative potential of the ‘setback’ restrictions of the New York zoning laws of ...

Article

Douglass Shand-Tucci

(b Hampton Falls, NH, Dec 16, 1863; d Boston, Sept 22, 1942).

American architect and writer. Cram was the leading Gothic Revival architect in North America in the first half of the 20th century, at the head of an informal school known as the Boston Gothicists, who transformed American church design.

In 1881 Cram was apprenticed to the firm of Rotch & Tilden in Boston. His letters on artistic subjects to the Boston Transcript led to his appointment as the journal’s art critic by the mid-1880s. In 1886 he began his first European tour. In 1888 he founded the firm of Cram & Wentworth with Charles Wentworth (1861–97). With the arrival of Bertram Goodhue, the firm became Cram, Wentworth & Goodhue in 1892, and in 1899 Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson, with Frank Ferguson (1861–1926) having joined the office as business and engineering partner following the death of Wentworth.

Cram was strongly influenced both by the philosophies of John Ruskin...

Article

Janice Simon

American art periodical published in New York from 3 January 1855 to July 1861, spanning 8 volumes. Co-founded by William James Stillman, a painter and devotee of art critic John Ruskin, and John Durand, son of landscape painter Asher B. Durand (1796–1886), The Crayon sought to elevate America’s artistic production by presenting concepts of beauty and nature as a means of reform to an overly materialistic and uncultured nation. The Crayon counted an eclectic mix of artists, literati, ministers, women, philosophers and foreigners as its contributors and subscribers.

At first a weekly paper and then, in 1856, a monthly, The Crayon ironically remained virtually devoid of illustrations and decorative designs. Stillman wrote many of the articles (often unsigned or with a pseudonym) including editorials, notices called “Sketchings,” book reviews, nature adventures, art exhibition reviews and even poetry. When Stillman resigned in June 1856, Durand became sole proprietor. Subsequently, the periodical’s content became sociologically broader in its offerings, including excerpts from the American Association of Architects, German philosophers, histories of Greek, Roman and Medieval art, Chinese history, landscape gardening and woman’s place in society. By ...

Article

Henry Adams

(b Veracruz, Mar 13, 1880; d Stamford, CT, Jan 10, 1961).

Mexican illustrator, writer, gallery owner, and publisher, active in the USA. He was the son of a wealthy Mexican lawyer and publisher. De Zayas started his career as an artist by providing drawings for his father’s newspaper in Veracruz. In 1906 he moved on to Mexico City’s leading newspaper, El Diario, but a year later, after the ascension of the dictator Porfirio Diaz, whom the newspaper had opposed, he fled to the USA. There he landed a position making caricatures for the New York Evening World. Shortly after his arrival in the USA, he came into contact with Alfred Stieglitz, who staged solo shows of De Zayas’s caricatures at his gallery Gallery 291 in 1909 and 1910, both of which proved to be huge popular successes.

In 1910 De Zayas traveled to Paris, where he stayed almost a year, scouting out adventurous forms of modern art for Stieglitz, notably the cubist work of Picasso and African sculpture. On his return, equipped with knowledge of European modern art and inspired by the work of the French modernist ...

Article

Arthur Channing Downs

(b Newburgh, NY, Oct 31, 1815; d Hudson River, NY, July 28, 1852).

American writer, horticulturist, landscape gardener and architect. From the age of seven he was trained in the family nursery garden by his elder brother Charles Downing (1802–85), an experimental horticulturist. Before he was 15, Downing came under the influence of André Parmentier (1780–1830), a Dutch-trained landscape gardener, and he studied the 700-acre estate that Parmentier had landscaped in the English manner at Hyde Park, NY. Downing was also influenced by the mineralogist Baron Alois von Lederer (1773–1842) and the landscape painter Raphael Hoyle (1804–38). In 1834 Downing’s first article, ‘Ornamental Trees’, appeared in journals in Boston, MA, and France. His article ‘The Fitness of Different Styles of Architecture for Country Residences’ (1836) was the first important discussion of the topic in America. He expressed enthusiasm for a variety of styles and insisted they must be used in appropriate settings. His ...

Article

Leah Lipton

(b Perth Amboy, NJ, Feb 18, 1766; d New York, Sept 28, 1839).

American painter, writer and Playwright. After working in England with Benjamin West between 1784 and 1787, Dunlap concentrated primarily on the theatre for the next 20 years. His two main interests are documented in his large Portrait of the Artist Showing his Picture of Hamlet to his Parents (1788; New York, NY Hist. Soc.). He wrote more than 30 plays and was called by some the ‘father of American drama’. He was the director and manager of the Park Theatre in New York from 1797 until its bankruptcy in 1805 and again, in its revived form, from 1806 to 1811. He began to paint miniatures to support his family in 1805 and travelled the East Coast of America as an itinerant artist. By 1817 he had become, in his own words, ‘permanently a painter’.

Dunlap always lived on the verge of poverty. To increase his income, he produced a large showpiece ...

Article

A. Deirdre Robson

(b Flint, MI, Nov 5, 1859; d Chicago, IL, July 21, 1920).

American critic, collector and lawyer. He wrote books on legal and economic issues in the 1900s. He first became interested in art, notably that of James Abbott McNeil Whistler and François-Auguste-René Rodin through the World’s Fair of Chicago in 1893. He began to lecture on art and aesthetics and published his first art book Delight, the Soul of Art (Philadelphia, 1904). In 1912 he became interested in 20th-century art. It was, however, the Armory Show (1913) that inspired him to become a serious collector of avant-garde art; he acquired 25 works from the exhibition. Subsequently he travelled to London and Germany, where he met Vasily Kandinsky and other artists and added c. 100 works to his collection.

In 1914 Eddy published Cubists and Post-Impressionism (Chicago). Based on information elicited from the artists themselves, this book is significant as one of the first attempts to explain modern art in the USA, but in its emphasis upon such painters as Kandinsky (it included the first discussion in English of this painter’s ideas) it betrays Eddy’s enthusiasm for colouristic abstraction. Eddy continued to collect, although the emphasis lay upon American modernism. On his death the collection was dispersed and 23 works went to the ...