HISTART 230 - Art and Life in 19th-Century America
Section: 001
Term: WN 2018
Subject: History of Art (HISTART)
Department: LSA History of Art
Requirements & Distribution:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

What can art history and American History tell us about each other? Painting, sculpture, photographs and popular media helped nineteenth-century Americans imagine race, nation, and the spirit while design shaped their environment. Ideas and images from this period inform the way we think today. We will study how the United States changed from a rural to an industrial, urban nation; slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction redefined the country, Westward movement and the accompanying confinement of Native peoples enlarged it, and waves of immigration and border movement changed its population. The rise of a middle class and the accompanying ideal of the “American home” were all products of the nineteenth century. American artists and architects sought to rival their European contemporaries and eventually produced distinctive works that responded to these national trends. Through hands-on research in archives and visits to see original works of art in museums and libraries, along with readings in primary-source documents and recent critical interpretations, we will examine both developments in the fine arts and the impact of historical change on the material and popular culture of everyday life in America. Among the artists and architects we will study are Thomas Cole, Winslow Homer, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Matthew Brady’s photographic studio, Louis Sullivan, and the Cheyenne artist Howling Wolf. The class will include a mandatory field trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts. Category for Concentration Distributions: D. Europe and the U.S., 4. Modern and Contemporary.

Textbooks: Frances Pohl, Framing American Art 3rd edition (required), plus online readings. Recommended for beginners who would like background reading: Paul Boyer, American History: A Very Short Introduction; Anne D’Alleva, Look! The Fundamentals of Art History (any edition). Copies of all of these books will be available on reserve in the Fine Arts Library.

Course Requirements:

Attendance and participation 15%, 6 or 7 short reading responses posted in an online forum 20%, visual analysis paper 15%, midterm quiz 15%, final exam 15%, online group research project that builds a website based on your research into a historical exhibition 20%.

Intended Audience:

People curious about art history; undergraduates at any level seeking a general introduction to 19th century art and culture; students who have studied related art literature, architecture, music or history but would like to learn the American context. No prior background in art history or American studies required, though it is welcome.

Class Format:

Lectures with some opportunity for questions and class discussion.

HISTART 230 - Art and Life in 19th-Century America
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
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