The Civil War and American Art
New Book from Yale University Press and the Smithsonian American Art Museum
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Civil War and American Art, by Eleanor Jones Harvey
About the Book
“Eleanor Jones Harvey’s The Civil War and American Art is the rare book that connects the dots between art and history so well that the reader assumes that the subject is well-worn. It is not.”
—Tyler Green, Modern Art Notes
- Complements a major exhibition on view now at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and travelling to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in May 2013.
- Publishing on the eve of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.
The Civil War changed the face of the nation. Landscape was scarred, illusions of unity were overturned and artists were challenged with sites of ambivalence, anxiety and strife. The advent of new technologies led to the robust production and sale of photographs from the battlefield. Meanwhile painters found themselves unable to rely on the conventions of European history painting and glamorize war time heroes, instead depicting landscapes laden with symbolism and realist tableaux that captured the uncertainty of daily life in North and South and served as subtle social critique.
The Civil War and American Art (December 3, 2012) explores the painting and photography, as well as contemporaneous literature and journalism, produced between 1859 and 1876. Eleanor Jones Harvey, senior curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, examines previously understudied elements of the era’s visual art—the spate of meteorological phenomena that foreshadowed the war and its appearance in metaphor-laden landscape painting—to produce a fascinating portrait of what—and how—Americans saw during these tumultuous decades.
The Civil War and American Art; Eleanor Jones Harvey; December 3, 2012;
Cloth; ISBN 9780300187335;
352 pages; 151 color + 63 b/w illus.; $65.00
Published in association with the Smithsonian American Art Museum
About the Author
Eleanor Jones Harvey is senior curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Her books include The Voyage of the Icebergs: Frederic Church's Arctic Masterpiece (Yale, 2002) and The Painted Sketch: American Impressions from Nature, 1830-1880 (Abrams, 1998).
About the Exhibition
The Civil War and American Art accompanies an exhibition of the same title that examines how America’s artists represented the impact of the Civil War and its aftermath. Winslow Homer, Eastman Johnson, Frederic Church, and Sanford Gifford—four of America’s finest artists of the era—anchor the exhibition. Genre and landscape painting captured the transformative effects of the war, not traditional history painting. The Civil War and American Art includes more than 70 paintings and vintage photographs.
Additional information about the exhibition is available online at americanart.si.edu/pr.
Smithsonian American Art Museum November 16, 2012 – April 28, 2013
The Metropolitan Museum of Art May 27, 2013 – September 2, 2013
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