Books on American representational art

last edited 2011



Books on American representational art is a catalogue published by Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) since 2003. Each book focuses on representational art.

Contents are valuable to educators designing course content, scholars, students and librarians conducting research, plus art lovers everywhere seeking greater understanding of American art. Enjoy!


TFAO sources:

Within the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) website are listings for hundreds of books and catalogues devoted to American representational art. Sources of titles include:

- books and catalogues listed on this page
- catalogues published by selected art museums, non profit galleries and art centers, accessed by clicking here
- books and catalogues relating to over 200 Topics in American Art
- books and catalogues covering aspects of each state's art history found through the Individual States Art History Project
- essays within books and catalogues written by hundreds of authors
- identification through advanced search within Resource Library limited to and domains. In many of the thousands of articles and essays concerning museum exhibitions published in Resource Library, there are references to catalogues for the exhibitions. Resource Library usually uses the word exhibition rather than exhibit and the word catalogue instead of catalog. In March, 2011, 1,980 Resource Library pages were retrieved with the words exhibition and catalogue used as keywords.
If you want to find whether there are one or more catalogues associated with artists referenced in America's Distinguished Artists, link to an artist's name listed in the catalogue.
If you want to find whether there are one or more catalogues associated with individual Topics in American Art, link to the topic name.


Other sources: has a feature that allows reading text inside books. To use this feature, search in "books," entering title of a book or other keywords. When a book is retrieved it may have the "Search Inside" feature allowing the reader to read sample pages of the book selected, which may include color images of the front cover, front flap, table of contents, excerpt such as the introduction chapter, alphabetical index, back flap and back cover. Also, some books have a word search feature, which enables registered individuals to search inside the books and pull up individual pages containing the selected words.

An search within "books" conducted April 4, 2011 located 51,142 printed books in English with the search phrase "American Art." Many books offer a "Search Inside" feature. Here are examples:

African-American Art by Sharon F. Patton (search inside)

African American Art and Artists, Revised and Expanded Edition by Samella Lewis (search inside)

American Art: A Cultural History by David Bjelajac

American Art: History and Culture by Wayne Craven (includes excerpt)

American Arts at the Art Institute of Chicago: From Colonial Times to World War I by Art Institute of Chicago

American Century: Art and Culture 1900-1950, The by Barbara Haskell

American Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art Volume 3: John Singer Sargent by Stephanie L. Herdrich, H. Barbara Weinberg, Marjorie Shelley

American Impressionism, 2nd Edition by William H. Gerdts (includes excerpt)

American Visions : The Epic History of Art in America by Robert Hughes (includes excerpt)

An American Odyssey: The Warner Collection of American Fine and Decorative Arts by Tom Armstrong (search inside)

Artful Players: Artistic Life in Early San Francisco by Birgitta Hjalmarson (search inside)

Bay Area Figurative Art: 1950-1965 by Caroline A. Jones (search inside)

California Impressionism by William H. Gerdts

California Impressionists by Susan Landauer (includes excerpt)

Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting by John F. Carlson (includes excerpt)

Celebrity Caricature in America by Wendy Wick Reaves

Collecting African American Art : Works on Paper and Canvas by Halima Taha (includes excerpt)

Contemporary Folk Art: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum Series) by Tom Patterson

Complementary Visions of Louisiana Art: The Laura Simon Nelson Collection at the Historic New Orleans Collection by William H. Gerdts (includes excerpt)

Cos Cob Art Colony: Impressionists on the Connecticut Shore, The by Susan G. Larkin

Flash of the Spirit : African & Afro-American Art & Philosophy by Robert Farris Thompson (includes excerpt)

Hudson River School: American Landscape Artists (American Art), The by Bert D. Yaege

Impressionist New York by William H. Gerdts (includes excerpt)

Independent Spirits: Women Painters of the American West, 1890-1945 by Patricia Trenton (search inside)

Lure of the West: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum by Amy Pastan

Maine in America: American Art at the Farnsworth Art Museum by William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum, Christopher B. Crosman, Pamela J. Belanger ,William H. Gerdts, Fronia W. Simpson

Minnesota Impressionists by Rena Neumann Coen ,William H. Gerdts

Native American Art in the Twentieth Century: Makers, Meanings, Histories by W. Jackson Rushing (search inside)

Native North American Art (Oxford History of Art) by Janet Catherine Berlo (search inside)

Nineteenth-Century American Art by Barbara S. Groseclose (search inside)

Rave Reviews : American Art and its Critics (1826 - 1925) by David B. Dearinge

Skilled Work: American Craft in the Renwick Gallery, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution by Kenneth R. Trapp (includes excerpt)

Souls Grown Deep: African American Vernacular Art of the South: The Tree Gave the Dove a Leaf by Paul Arnett (search inside)

Spirit of Native America: Beauty and Mysticism in American Indian Art, The by Anna Lee Walters (search inside)

Tile Club and the Aesthetic Movement in America by Ronald G Pisano (includes excerpt)

Traditional African American Arts and Activities by Sonya Kimble-Ellis (search inside)

Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art, The by Andrea D. Barnwell


Copyrighted material is treated in one of three ways. Google negotiates with cooperating publishers through its Google Books Partner Program for "Limited Preview" of entire pages or sections within books by readers. For scanned books without copyright permissions, "snippets" are available. For remaining books basic information is provided without ability to search within the book. The snippets inform readers about the relevance of the book to their subject of inquiry.

"Full view" is available for books in the public domain.

A Google Book Search conducted April 6, 2011 located 859,000 titles in English with the words with the phase "American art." There were 188,000 books with Limited Preview or Full view including 95,400 books out of copyright and therefore available for open access online or downloading.

Many books with the Full view or Limited Preview feature are listed in TFAO's catalogue American Representational Art with links to dozens of topics in American Representational Art, and others are listed in Resource Library. For example, please see Native American Art.

General reference books include:

Brigham, David R, American Impressionism: Paintings of Promise, ISBN: 0764903594

Brown, Milton W. American Painting from the Armory Show to the Depression. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955.

Falk, Peter Hastings, ed. Who Was Who in American Art. Madison, Conn.: Sound View Press, 1999.

Groce, George C., and David H. Wallace, eds. The New-York Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists in America, 1564­1860. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1957.

Havlice, Patrice Pate, ed. Index to Artistic Biography. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1981-.

Igoe, Lynn Moody, and James Igoe. 250 Years of Afro-American Art: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1991.

Optiz, Glenn B., ed. Dictionary of American Sculptors: 18th Century to the Present. Poughkeepsie, N.Y.: Apollo Book, 1984.

Optiz, Glenn B., ed. Mantle Fielding's Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers. Poughkeepsie, N.Y.: Apollo Book, 1983.

Prown, Jules David. American Painting from its Beginnings to the Armory Show. New York: Rizzoli, 1987.

Artful Players: Artistic Life in Early San Francisco, by Birgitta Hjalmarson, with a forward by William H. Gerdts, 288 pages, 6 x 9 inches, 34 black and white photographs, 46 color photographs, ISBN 1-890449-01-6

Crosscurrents in American Impressionism at the Turn of the Century General Editor: William U. Eiland Essays by: Janice Simon; Nancy Mathews; Sarah Burns; Kathleen Pyne; Charles C. Eldredge 119 p.; Illustrated; Essays: 5; Published: 1996; ISBN: 0-915977-16-8

Desert Dreams: The Art and Life of Maynard Dixon by Donald J. Haggarty. 204 color and 69 b&w illustrations, 296pp. ISBN 0-87905-826-9

Painted Light: California Impressionist Paintings, California State University, Dominguez Hills, 31 color and 9 b&w illustrations, 54pp. ISBN 0-9662490-1-1

Art of the Gold Rush, by Driesbach, Janice T., Harvey L. Jones, and Katherine Church Holland, ISBN 0-520-21431-5

California Art: 450 Years of Painting and Other Media, Nancy Moure, ISBN 0-9614622-5-6 soft cover

Intimate Expressions: Two Centuries of American Drawings General Editor: Donald D. Keyes, Essays by: Henry Adams; Douglas Dreishpoon 84 p.; Illustrated (includes 22 color plates); Essays: 2; Published: 1998; ISBN 0-915977-28-1

An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West, Phil Kovinick and Marian Yoshiki-Kovinick, University of Texas Press, 1998, 448 pages, ISBN: 0292790635.

For Beauty and For Truth: The William and Abigail Gerdts Collection of American Still Life, a 104 page catalog accompanying the Mead Art Museum exhibition, Amherst College; ISBN: 091433719X

Los Angeles Painters of the 1920s, by Nancy Moure with an introduction by Arthur Miller. ISBN: 0915478293

The American Scene and the South: Paintings and Works on Paper, 1930-1946 General Editor: Patricia Phagan Essays by: Matthew Baigell; Patricia Phagan; William U. Eiland; Richard Cox; Martha R. Severens; Leslie King-Hammond 263 p.; Illustrated (includes 46 color plates); Essays: 10; Published: 1996; ISBN: 0-915977-24-9

Collecting the West : The C.R. Smith Collection of Western American Art, by Richard H. Saunders (Editor) ISBN: 0292711123

1998 Traveler's Guide to Art Museum Exhibitions (10th Ed), by Susan S. Rappaport (Editor), Jennifer A. Smith (Editor), Susan Coll (Editor) ISBN: 0810963450

American Impressionism : Paintings of Promise, by David R. Brigham, ISBN: 0764903594

Visions of Home : American Impressionist Images of Suburban Leisure and Country Comfort, by Lisa N. Peters, Jack Becker, Peter M. Lukehart, Trout Gallery, ISBN: 0874519705

Independent Spirits : Women Painters of the American West, 1890-1945 by Patricia Trenton

- plus many books written or co-authored by William H. Gerdts, one of America's foremost art historians. Titles include:

A Century of American still-life painting, 1813-1913

All Things Bright and Beautiful, California Impressionist Paintings from the Irvine Museum

American Art at the Flint Institute of Arts

American Impressionism, 2nd Edition

American Impressionism: Masterworks from public and private collections in the United States exhibition catalogue

A Painter's Paradise: Artists and the California Landscape: Essays

Art Across America: The East and the Mid-Atlantic

Art Across America: The Plains States and the West

Art Across America: The South and the Midwest

Art Across America: Two Centuries of Regional Painting

California Impressionism

California Light 1900-1930

Complementary Visions of Louisiana Art: The Laura Simon Nelson Collection at the Historic New Orleans Collection

Golden Age of American Impressionism, The

Grand Illusions: History Painting in America (Anne Burnett Tandy Lectures in American Civilization, No 8)

Great American Nude: A history in art (American art & artists), The

Impressionist New York

In Natures Ways American Landscape Painting of the Late Nineteenth Century

Masters of Light: Plein-Air Painting in California 1890-1930

Masterworks of American Impressionism

Natural Habitat: Contemporary Wildlife Artists of North America

Not-So-Still Life: A Century of California Painting and Sculpture, The

Painters of the Humble Truth: Masterworks of American Still-Life Painting

Pennsylvania Impressionism

Revealed masters: 19th century American art [catalogue of] an exhibition organized by American Federation of Arts, New York


TFAO catalogues:

American Representational Art links to dozens of topics in American Representational Art

Audio Online a catalogue of online streaming audio recordings

Collections of Historic American Art notable private collections

Distinguished Artists a national registry of historic artists

Geographic Tour of American Representational Art History a catalogue of articles and essays that describe the evolution of American art from the inception of the United States to WWII.

Illustrated Audio Online streaming online narrated slide shows

Articles and Essays Online substantive texts published outside of Resource Library

Videos Online a comprehensive catalogue of online full motion videos streamed free to viewers

Videos an authoritative guide to videos in VHS and DVD format

Books general reference books published on paper

Interactive media media in CD-ROM format

Magazines paper-published magazines and journals


How to find content on our site using search engines:

Conduct keyword searches within TFAO's website and Resource Library, a collection of articles and essays honoring the American experience through its art, using the advanced search feature of these search engines:



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