American 18-19th Century Representational Art


This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "American 18-19th Century Representational Art." 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 these articles and essays. The date at the end of each title is the Resource Library publication date.

We recommend that readers search within the TFAO website to find detailed information for any topic. Please see our page How to research topics not listed for more information.

Next are links to valuable online resources found outside our website. Links may be to museums' articles about exhibits, plus much more topical information based on our online searches.

Following online resources is information about offline resources including museums, DVDs, and paper-printed books, journals and articles.


Resource Library articles and essays honoring the American experience through its art











From other websites


America: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a Nation, an exhibit held June 26, 2010 - January 2, 2012 at the Gilcrease Museum. Includes images of selected works in the exhibit. Accessed August, 2015

American Art Masterworks, an exhibit held October 11 - December 7, 2014 at the Seattle Art Museum. Includes bibliogaphy. Accessed April, 2015

Ferdinand Richardt: Drawings of America, 1855-1859, an exhibit held February 11 - April 15, 2007 at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. Accessed March, 2015.

Life and Art in Early America, an exhibit held July 2014 through June 7, 2015 at the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College. Accessed January, 2016.

Making American Taste: Narrative Art for a New Democracy, an exhibit held November 11, 2011 - September 09, 2012 at the New-York Historical Society. Includes curriculum guide. Accessed April, 2015.

Masterpieces of American Art, 1770-1920: From the Detroit Institute of Arts, an exhibit held October 23, 2004-January 30, 2005 at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Accessed February, 2015.

Men at Work is a 2015 exhibit at the Heckscher Museum of Art which says: "In paintings, sculpture, and photographs, artists have depicted intellectuals, sailors, farmers, miners, and soldiers, capturing aspects of their emotional life as well as their physical labor. William Merritt Chase, Thomas Eakins, George Grosz, John Rogers, Emma Stebbins, and John Sloan are among the featured artists." Accessed 8/18

Nature and Opulence: The Art of Martin Johnson Heade is a 2016 exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum which says: " Largely forgotten by scholars and collectors after his death, Martin Johnson Heade is now being revisited as one of the most varied and inventive painters of his generation." Accessed 8/18

Orra White Hitchcock (1796­1863): An Amherst Woman of Art and Science, an exhibit held January 28 - May 29, 2011 at the Mead Art Museum. Includes checklist and audio tour. Accessed February, 2015

Perfectly American: The Art-Union and Its Artists, an exhibit held July 24, 2011 - October 2, 2011 at the Gilcrease Museum. Includes images of selected works in the exhibit. Accessed August, 2015

Rufus Porter's Curious World: Art and Invention in America, 1815-1860 is a 2019 exhibit at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art which says: "This exhibition celebrates the artist and inventor Rufus Porter (1792­1884), an imaginative polymath and entrepreneur curious about art, science, and communication technologies." Exhibit information includes press release, object labels, press coverage and 25-minute video discussion by the curators.  Accessed 8/20

Regarding America: 19th-Century Art from the Permanent Collection was an exhibition hosted by the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts from April 23, 2022 through July 31, 2022. The Gallery described the exhibition as follows: "Walt Whitman, a White man, and James Monroe Whitfield, a Black man, renowned poets born only two years apart in the northeastern United States, experienced 19th-century America quite differently. Their poems about their country share a title and compositional similarities, but they diverge starkly in the perspectives they offer on the promise and reality of the American experiment, revealing a fundamental truth: There is no such thing as the American experience. America, as Whitman famously wrote, contains multitudes. 

An era of discovery and innovation that witnessed the rapid and seemingly boundless expansion of America's footprint and ambition, the 19th century was also a time of conflict and upheaval, brutality and inequality. Comprising paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, and sculptures drawn from the Addison's acclaimed collection of 19th-century American art, this exhibition offers critical insight into this transformative and contradictory century.

Regarding America presents perennial favorites by artists including Albert Bierstadt, Mary Cassatt, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Harriet Hosmer, George Inness, Eastman Johnson, Timothy H. O'Sullivan, Maurice Prendergast, and James McNeill Whistler alongside lesser-known works by under-recognized and unidentified artists." Accessed 9/23

Staging Art in the 19th Century is a 2020 exhibit at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art which says: "In the United States, entrepreneurs would set up showplaces where a major painting would be displayed within a room or small alcove, with curtains draped on both sides to emphasize the theatricality of the setting. It was an atmosphere meant to inspire both awe and appreciation for the virtuosic talents of the artist, while also creating an intimate viewing relationship with the painting." Accessed 10/20

A Wilderness Distant from Ourselves: Art and Ecology in 19th-Century America is a 2019 exhibit at the Addison Gallery of American Art which says: "Focusing on the 19th century, an era that witnessed both the extreme and violent exploitation of the land and its peoples and the birth of a modern conservation movement, this exhibition will unfold chronologically and move from New England to the West." Accessed 5/20


Online video

April, 2023 screenshot via Google video search:


American Art, 1785-1926: Seven Artist Profiles is a DVD containing seven video presentations on American artists of the 19th century. A 32-page viewer's guide accompanying the DVD includes a biography of each artist and reproductions of featured works. This DVD is lent free of charge through the National Gallery of Art's Division of Education. Image courtesy NGA. Titles include:

John James Audubon: The Birds of America (29 minutes)

American Impressionist: William Merritt Chase at Shinnecock (26 minutes)

The Landscapes of Frederic Edwin Church (29 minutes)

Winslow Homer: The Nature of the Artist (29 minutes)

Thomas "Yellowstone" Moran (12 minutes)

Important Information Inside: John F. Peto and the Idea of Still-Life Painting (28 minutes)

James McNeill Whistler: The Lyrics of Art (19 minutes)


Go to Representational Art (other): 18-19th Century, 19-20th Century, 20-21st Century

Return to Topics in American Representational Art


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

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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