press release

Between the American Revolution and World War I, a group of British colonies became states, the frontier pushed westward to span the continent, a rural and agricultural society became urban and industrial, and the United States—reunified after the Civil War under an increasingly powerful federal government—emerged as a leading participant in world affairs. Throughout this complicated, transformative period, artists recorded American life as it changed around them. Many of the nation's most celebrated painters—John Singleton Copley, Charles Willson Peale, William Sidney Mount, George Caleb Bingham, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, John Sloan, and George Bellows—along with their lesser-known colleagues captured the temperament of their respective eras, defining the character of Americans as individuals, citizens, and members of ever-widening communities.

American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765–1915 presents tales artists told about their times and examines how their accounts reflect shifting professional standards, opportunities for study, foreign prototypes, venues for display, and viewers' expectations. Excluding images based on history, myth, or literature, the exhibition emphasizes instead those derived from artists' firsthand observation, documentation, and interaction with clients. These paintings are analogous to original—not adapted—screenplays. Recurring themes such as childhood, marriage, family, and community; the notion of citizenship; attitudes toward race; the frontier as reality and myth; and the process and meaning of making art illuminate the evolution of American artists' approach to narrative.

The exhibition is organized by H. Barbara Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture, and Carrie Rebora Barratt, Associate Director for Collections and Administration, both of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in association with Bruce Robertson, Professor of Art History, University of California, Santa Barbara, and Consulting Curator, Department of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Margaret C. Conrads, Samuel Sosland Curator of American Art at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, also contributed to the planning of the exhibition. All four scholars contributed to the exhibition catalogue, from which the information on this web feature is drawn.

American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765–1915
Kuratoren: H. Barbara Weinberg, Carrie Rebora Barratt, Bruce Robertson, Margaret C. Conrads

Künstler: Matthew Pratt, John Singleton Copley, Ralph Earl, John Lewis Krimmel, Charles Willson Peale, Samuel F. B. Morse, William Sidney Mount, Christian Friedrich Mayr, Francis William Edmonds, George Caleb Bingham, Charles Deas, Charles Cromwell Ingham, Allen Smith Jr., Richard Caton Woodville, William Henry Burr, Lilly Martin Spencer, Thomas Le Clear, William Tylee Ranney, Charles Felix Blauvelt, Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait, Jerome B. Thompson, John Greenwood, Gilbert Stuart, John Neagle, Eastman Johnson, David Gilmour Blythe, George Cochran Lambdin, Winslow Homer, Seymour Joseph Guy, Theodor Kaufmann, John Mix Stanley, John George Brown, Henry Mosler, Thomas Eakins, Enoch Wood Perry, James McNeill Whistler, Henry Bacon, Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent, Thomas Anshutz, William Merritt Chase, Frank Waller, George de Forest Brush, Theodore Robinson, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Charles Schreyvogel, Frederic Remington, Everett Shinn, John Sloan, George Bellows, William Glackens, William McGregor Paxton.