Tennessee Art History
with an emphasis on representational art
This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "Tennessee Art History." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section. Clicking on titles takes readers directly to the articles and essays.
Following the links to Resource Library articles and essays are a listing of museums in the state which have provided materials to Resource Library for this or any other topic.
Listed after Resource Library articles, essays and museums are links to online resources outside the TFAO website. Following these resources is information about offline resources including DVDs, paper-printed books, journals and articles. Our goal is to present complete knowledge relating to this section of Topics in American Art.
TFAO welcomes volunteers to further the broadening of knowledge related to this topic. 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.
Resource Library essays listed by author name in alphabetical order, followed by articles:
A Century of Progress: 20th Century Painting in Tennessee, by Celia Walker
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts 50th Anniversary Traveling Collection Exhibition
Higher Ground: A Century of the Visual Arts in East Tennessee
We recommend that researchers always search within Resource Library for additional material. Please see TFAO's page How to research topics not listed for more information. As of April, 2015 Resource Library contains 270 pages including the state's name.
Museums and other non-profit sources of Resource Library articles and essays:
Cheekwood Museum of Art
Dixon Gallery and Gardens
Frist Center for the Visual Arts
Hunter Museum of American Art
Knoxville Museum of Art
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
National Civil Rights Museum
Tennessee State Museum
Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery
(above The Dixon Gallery and Gardens. Photo: © John Hazeltine, 2012. Onsite photography permission by Julie Pierotti, The Dixon Gallery and Gardens)
Other online information:
"Art," by James C. Kelly in Encyclopedia of History and Culture, from Tennessee Historical Society. Accessed August, 2015.
Artists from Tennessee in Wikipedia. Accessed August, 2015.
Brief Biography of Tennessee artists in the Dec. 6th, 2008 auction, from Case Antiques. Accessed August, 2015.
Categories page in Encyclopedia of History and Culture from Tennessee Historical Society . Accessed August, 2015.
Gathering Light: Works by Beauford Delaney from the KMA Collection is a 2017 exhibit at the Knoxville Museum of Art which says: "Gathering Light celebrates the Knoxville Museum of Art's progress in building a representative collection of works by Knoxville-born Beauford Delaney (1901-1979), considered by many to be among the greatest American abstract painters of the twentieth century. Despite battling poverty, prejudice, and mental illness, Delaney achieved an international reputation for his portraits, scenes of city life, and free-form abstractions marked by intense colors, bold contours, and expressive surfaces." Also see illustrated list of works in exhibit Accessed 6/17
Higher Ground: A Century of the Visual Arts in East Tennessee is an ongoing exhibit at the Knoxville Museum of Art which says: "Higher Ground is the first permanent exhibition devoted to East Tennessee's artistic achievements. It includes objects from the KMA collection supplemented by important works borrowed from public and private collections. Many of the featured artists spent their entire lives and careers in the area, while some moved away to follow their creative ambitions. Others were drawn to the region by its natural beauty, as the wealth of landscape imagery in this exhibition attests." Accessed 6/17
Shades of Gray and Blue: Reflections of Life in Civil War Tennessee is an educational website launched in 2011. It is sponsored by Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area in partnership with Vanderbilt University Libraries, Middle Tennessee State University's Walker Library, and the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University. Marilyn Masler Associate Registrar, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, is a consultant and contributing author. The website contains elements relating to the visual arts in Civil War Tennessee. For example, see The Persistence of Memory: Commemorative Works of Art. Accessed August, 2015.
Tennessee (sampling of artists and works connected to state) from askArt. Accessed August, 2015.
Tennessee Portrait Project, a website sponsored by the National Society of Colonial Dames of America in Tennessee, contains many historic portraits. An artist index is included. Accessed August, 2015.
Steve Cotham on East Tennessee Artists is a lecture (53:50) at the Knoxville Museum of Art, released April 6, 2011. The museum says "Steve Cotham is the manager of the McClung Historical Collection located in the East Tennessee History Center in downtown Knoxville. Cotham holds three academic degrees from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, including advanced degrees in history and library science." Another video titled Steve Cotham: Dine and Discover (31:10) was released November 13, 2008 in connection with the exhibition Higher Ground: A Century of the Visual Arts in East Tennessee, which is according to the museum "... a new permanent installation celebrating the art and artists of Knoxville and the surrounding region. The fascinating and complex story of our area's rich artistic heritage and its connections to the larger currents of American art are largely unknown, and certainly under appreciated...the first permanent installation devoted to the creative achievements of important artists active since the late 19th century whose lives and legacies are closely linked to East Tennessee." [Link found to be expired as of 2015 audit. TFAO is saving the citation for use by researchers.]
Other videos are available on the Knoxville Museum of Art website page for podcasts and videos. Examples are:
The Life And Art Of Anna Catherine Wiley, by Steve Cotham [36:51] May 22, 2013;
Higher Ground: A Century of the Visual Arts in East Tennessee, by Patricia Rutenberg. KMA says: "...Rutenberg's talk offers an in-depth look at Catherine Wiley, one of East Tennessee's most talented painters." September 7, 2011 [38:14];
Paint Brush for Hire: The East Tennessee Odyssey of James and Emma Cameron, 1856-1862, by UT Emeritus Professor Fred Moffatt. [50:24] October 5, 2011.
Accessed August, 2015.
(above: Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Photo: © 2012, John Hazeltine)
Books, listed by year of publication, with most recently published book listed first:
A History of Tennessee Arts: Creating Traditions, Expanding Horizons, West, Carroll Van, and Margaret Duncan Binnicker, eds. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2004) See "Painting in 19th-Century Tennessee," pp. 79-98 contributed by Marilyn Masler Associate Registrar, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.
Art of Tennessee., Caldwell, Benjamin H., Jr., Robert Hicks, and Mark W. Scala, comps. Nashville: Frist Center for the Visual Arts, 2003.
Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1998), Carroll Van West, editor.
Art & Furniture of East Tennessee: The Inaugural Exhibit of the Museum of East Tennessee History, by Namuni Hale.Young, Published by East Tennessee Historical Society, 1997. ISBN 0941199118, 9780941199117. 121 pages.
An Encyclopedia of East Tennessee, Jim Stokely and Jeff D. Johnson, eds. (Oak Ridge: Childrens Museum, 1981). See "The Fine Arts."
Heart of the Valley: A History of Knoxville, Tennessee, ed. Lucile Deaderick, (Knoxville: East Tennessee Historical Society, 1976). See Frederick C. Moffatt: "Painting, Sculpture, and Photography," pp. 424-38.
The Arts of East Tennessee in the Nineteenth Century, by Dulin Gallery of Art, Knoxville, East Tennessee Historical Society, 1971, 36 pages.
Portraits in Tennessee Painted Before 1866, by National Society of the Colonial Dames of America Tennessee, Eleanor Fleming Morrissey, Portrait Committee, National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, Tennessee. (National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in Tennessee, 1964) 147 pages.
Tennessee Painting -- the Past, by Tennessee Fine Arts Center. Published by Tennessee Fine Arts Center, 1960. 20 pages. Google Books says: "Catalog of an exhibition held May 22-July 31, 1960, at the Tennessee Fine Arts Center, Nashville."
Cogswell, Robert "A Selected Bibliography of Tennessee Folk Arts". Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin, 1984 vol.50 (4): 142-45.
Kelly, James C. "Landscape and Genre Painting in Tennessee, 1810-1985," Tennessee Historical Quarterly 44 (1985): 7-152
Kelly, James C. "Portrait Painting in Tennessee," Tennessee Historical Quarterly 46 (1987): 193-276
Masler, Marilyn "Art and Artists in Antebellum Memphis," Tennessee Historical Quarterly (Winter 1998) p. 218-235.
Young, Namuni Hale "Art and Furniture of East Tennessee" Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Winter 1987
"A Tale of Two Monuments: Civil War Sculpture in Knoxville," East Tennessee Historical Society Publications 50 (1978)
Return to Individual States Art History Project
TFAO wishes to extend appreciation to Marilyn Masler Associate Registrar, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art,; Ellen Simak, Chief Curator, Hunter Museum of American Art, and Stephen C. Wicks, Barbara W. and Bernard E. Bernstein Curator, Knoxville Museum of Art for suggestions of materials for this page.
Do you know of additional sources whether online or paper-printed? TFAO welcomes your suggestions. Please send them to:
letter sent 3/7/12 to Kristofer Ray, Ph.D. Editor, Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Tennessee Historical Society:
letter sent 3/7/12 to John Case, president of Case Antiques, Inc.
letter sent 3/7/12 to Claire Corby, Cheekwood Museum of Art
letter sent 3/7/12 to Daniel E. Stetson, Executive Director, Hunter Museum of American Art (3/7/12 referral to Ellen Simak, Chief Curator)
letter sent 3/7/12 to David L. Butler, Executive Director, Knoxville Museum of Art
letter sent 3/7/12 to Andria Lisle, Public Relations Manager, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art (3/8/12 referrals to Marina Pacini, Chief Curator, Wendy Trenthem, Librarian and Marilyn Masler, Associate Registrar)
letter sent 3/7/12 to Mary Skinner, Tennessee State Museum
letter sent 3/7/12 to Steve Cotham, Manager, McClung Historical Collection, East Tennessee History Center
This page is continuously amended as TFAO adds content, corrects errors and reorganizes sections for improved readability. Refreshing or reloading this page enables readers to view the latest updates.
Links to sources of information outside of our web site are provided only as referrals for your further consideration. Please use due diligence in judging the quality of information contained in these and all other web sites. Information from linked sources may be inaccurate or out of date. TFAO neither recommends or endorses these referenced organizations. Although TFAO includes links to other web sites, it takes no responsibility for the content or information contained on those other sites, nor exerts any editorial or other control over them. For more information on evaluating web pages see TFAO's General Resources section in Online Resources for Collectors and Students of Art History.
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