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American Sublime: Landscape Painting in the United States 1820-1880 Paperback – July 22, 2003

4.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The Hudson River School and their successors were the first American artists to create a specifically "American" type of artwork an artwork that celebrated the awe-inspiring panoramas of the untamed American landscape and incorporated deep feelings of national identity. This catalog accompanies an exhibition that travels both to Great Britain and to the United States and includes over 113 stunningly dramatic and truly "sublime" American landscapes. The book is divided into eight thematic sections and includes two scholarly essays. In the first, Barringer (history of art, Yale) compares the tradition of landscape painting in America and Britain, while in the second, Wilton (senior research fellow, Tate Gallery, London) explores the concept of the sublime and the formation of a pictorial language that Americans would come to embrace and identify as uniquely their own. While the essays and catalog entries are well written and informative, providing a geographic and historical context for the artwork, it is the stunning illustrations (including several two-page foldouts) that dazzle the eye and imagination. Recommended for all libraries. Kraig Binkowski, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

None of the domestic cleverness of folk art is evident in American Sublime, a gorgeously illustrated and learned history of nineteenth-century American landscape painting, a sophisticated school rooted in British romanticism and American transcendence. Wilton, of the Tate Gallery, considers the influence of Edmund Burke's theory of sublimity and the surge in scientific development on American painters, while coauthor Tim Barringer, an art historian at Yale, discusses the profound effect on the painters' imaginations of a pristine land free of Western religious, literary, and historical associations. The American "instinct to find spiritual significance in nature" is manifest in the luminous beauty and high drama of the panoramic paintings of Frederic Edwin Church, Albert Bierstadt, and Jasper Francis Cropsey. But even as these painters and their colleagues, including Fritz Hugh Lane and Martin Johnson Heade, celebrated the glory of America, the frenetic growth of the nation transformed the land before their very eyes. By the time Thomas Moran was painting the Grand Canyon in 1892, the "wilderness aesthetic of the landscape painter" had become instrumental in protecting such sacred places from destruction. Wilton and Barringer's commentary is stimulating and important, and the exceptional plates are bliss unadulterated. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (July 22, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691115567
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691115566
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 9.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,918,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The Hudson River painters were the first coherent school of American art to help shape the National view of the American landscape. The artists that came to maturity during Jackson's presidency defined the aesthetic of a nation who, until that moment, maintained its roots with courtly Europe. In American Sublime: Landscape Painting in the United States, 1820-1880, the reader journeys through this new art movement by moving through the landscape--feeling the optimism and awe which defined a nation's identity. The book's "catalogue" chapters will visually captivate the reader with framed, dramatic vistas brought to life by each represented artist's bold colors, sense of movement and atmospheric lighting. The major Hudson River painters are all well-represented here. The book is most certainly an invaluable reference to both the art historian as well as the painting practitioner.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered this book after being introduced to it in my painting class as we are studying landscape painting from that era. I was amazed at the beauty and information the book held when it was shown to us in class and knew I had to have it.

This is a must have for anyone studying landscape painting or who is interested in the beauty of America as seen through the eyes of painting masters from that time.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was looking for a detailed overview of the artists of the Hudson River School.
This was just what I wanted. It starts in New York and goes up the river in location and
forward in history. Eventually going beyond the Hudson to the West and South America.
A lot of the understanding of art comes from the history context. This book had an excellent
blend of both. Very helpful to understand the motivations and meanings. It put this genre
in context with the other movements in the 19th century. It also lead me into purchasing
deeper monographs on the artists that I liked.
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Format: Hardcover
This catalog of the exhibition presently at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts is an excellent guide to carry with you as you view the paintings -- particularly since the printed material on the wall adjacent to the paintings is printed in tiny type and posted way too low. The book is well organized, by theme, matching the layout of the show. There is excellent material on the artists and the events surrounding the paintings, and a some bibliography for each artist at the back (too bad many of the books are out of print). The reproductions are OK to good, but in NO WAY do they give you a sense of the actual paintings, which are awe-some, they way we used to mean it. If there's any any way you can possibly get to this exhibit, go. Then, if you wish, buy the book.
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Format: Paperback
This was the book that hooked me into American landscapes. Written by a Brit who actually acknowledges American art. Excellent color reproductions from a variety of American artists and dozens (not all) of their landscape masterpieces. This book covers a lot of ground (pun).
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