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Charles Willson Peale: Art and Selfhood in the Early Republic Hardcover – August 9, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 260 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition edition (August 9, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520239601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520239609
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A masterly portrait, and an interpretive tour de force." - Charles C. Eldredge, author of Tales from the Easel "This is an invaluable critical study of Charles Willson Peale - clear, erudite, and imaginative. Ward shows what went wrong as well as right in Peale's lifelong attempts at self-fashioning, giving us a richer picture than ever before of this restless American figure." - Alexander Nemerov, author of The Body of Raphaelle Peale; "One of the hallmarks of public life after the Revolution was the desire of notable Americans to fashion their own enduring reputations. This exquisite book lucidly and compellingly investigates how Charles Willson Peale expressed and controlled his image. David C. Ward takes us on a remarkable journey through the labyrinth of a major artist's evolving self-consciousness during the early Republic." - Paul Staiti, Mount Holyoke College"

From the Inside Flap

"At last, Charles Willson Peale is revealed, compleat and complex: as the familiar and essential artist and scientist, to be sure, but also as the patriot, parent, publicist, and more. David Ward's astute examination of this unique polymath introduces unexpected aspects of the man and, in so doing, sheds new light on the genius of the American Enlightenment. A masterly portrait, and an interpretive tour de force."—Charles C. Eldredge, author of Tales from the Easel: American Narrative Paintings

"This is an invaluable critical study of Charles Willson Peale—clear, erudite, and imaginative. Ward shows what went wrong as well as right in Peale's lifelong attempts at self-fashioning, giving us a richer picture than ever before of this restless American figure."—Alexander Nemerov, author of The Body of Raphaelle Peale: Still Life and Selfhood, 1812-1824

"One of the hallmarks of public life after the Revolution was the desire of notable Americans to fashion their own enduring reputations. This exquisite book lucidly and compellingly investigates how Charles Willson Peale expressed and controlled his image—in his ostensibly private autobiographical writing as well as in public forums such as self-portraiture and the production of spectacles and events. David C. Ward reassembles the visual and verbal conversations Peale conducted with and within himself over the course of five decades, and in doing so takes us on a remarkable journey through the labyrinth of a major artist's evolving self-consciousness during the early Republic."—Paul Staiti, Professor of Fine Arts on the Alumnae Foundation, Mount Holyoke College

More About the Author

David C. Ward is Senior Historian at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution where he has curated exhibitions and written widely on subjects in American history and culture. He was co-curator (with Jonathan D. Katz) of the award winning and controversial exhibition Hide/Seek. Difference and Desire in American Portraiture (2010-12. More recently he organized, Poetic Likeness. Portraits of Modern American Poets (2012) and co-curated Face Value. Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction (2014). In addition, Ward has organized special exhibitions on Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln, among others. With graduate degrees from Warwick University (England) and Yale, he is the author of Charles Willson Peale. Art and Selfhood in the Early Republic (2004) and has co-edited four volumes of the selected papers of Charles Willson Peale and his family.
In addition to his work at the Smithsonian, Ward is a poet and literary critic. He has published a small book of his poems, called Internal Difference, and in 2014 a larger collection, called Call Waiting, will be published by Carcanet Press (England). He writes the "Poetry Matters" column for Smithsonian Magazine.
Ward's exhibition on Generals Grant and Lee will open in July 2014; he is currently working on forthcoming exhibitions on photographer Alexander Gardner and "In the Sweat of their Face: Portaits of American Working People.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By H. Lake on November 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As Peale was a wonderfully typical yet extraordinary Enlightenment man, so David C. Ward reflects these sometimes complex combinations in his multi-layered style. Written with elegant poeticism yet laiden with fact and academic detail, this book is a joy to read. A wonderful balance between autobiographical insight into Peale's character and a scholarly take on 'enlightened' American society, Ward triumphally balances both the subject and the reader's attention. By applying, for example, philosophical insight to his subject, to art and to historical events with seamless ease, Ward makes a great contribution to the study of an age and a man.
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