Topics in American Art



Topics in American Art, a catalogue published by Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) since 2003, covers over 200 topics. Each topic focuses on an aspect of American representational art. Most topics include links to Resource Library articles and essays, often accompanied by museum exhibition materials such as checklists, gallery guide texts, wall panel and extended label texts (see definitions), in-house magazine articles, and more. These materials often are unavailable elsewhere online.

Topics entries may also include links to other online materials from museums and other sources, online video and audio recordings, plus references to videos in DVD format, paper-printed books, articles, and more. For convenience of researchers, topics also include TFAO indexes and catalogues, other directories, projects, reports and studies.

As of 2016, new entries about exhibits focus on expanding knowledge within topics less thoroughly represented in the catalogue. TFAO is further guided by the selection process presented in What is included in the National Calendar of Art Exhibitions.


Who benefits from Topics in American Art?

Contents are used by educators designing course content, scholars, curators, docents, students, librarians, collectors, potential donors to museums, plus art lovers everywhere seeking greater understanding of American art. Enjoy!


What topics are available?

Here is an alphabetical listing of topics: A - C / D - G / H - L / M - P / Q - Z


An invitation to museums

TFAO suggests to museums to permanently make available materials about special exhibitions on their websites. Most museum websites have a "past exhibitions" section. Often, when information about an exhibition is first posted, a permanent URL is created that is carried forward in website sections for future, current and past exhibitions. A common format is: https// of exhibit.

A wide variety of materials are posted by museums for an individual exhibition. Contents on a page for an exhibition may include narrative paragraphs about the exhibition, photos of art objects, plus links to: a press release for the exhibition, newspaper and magazine articles, promotional PSA videos, lecture videos, gallery guides, brochures and checklists.

Once a museum has decided upon a URL format for presenting online exhibition information, it is important that the format be maintained permanently. This is to prevent dead links in articles, research papers and other materials published by outside persons and organizations.

An effect of Covid temporary museum closures in 2020-21was that scores of art museums greatly enhanced the quality and quantity of online presentations.


An invitation to TFAO viewers

TFAO welcomes viewers to further the broadening of knowledge of American art. To learn more about TFAO's many volunteer opportunities please click here. Volunteers are welcome to contribute suggestions for additional content in this catalogue. Please see Catalogue and database management for details.

For more information on volunteering please send an email to: 


Individual pages are amended throughout the year as TFAO adds content and reorganizes sections for improved readability.


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