Jessica Lanier

Jessica Lanier has lectured widely on Salem’s international trade and material culture and currently teaches art history at Salem State University. Her publications include “The Chinese Presence in Early American Visual Culture” in Art in America: 300 Years of Innovation (Guggenheim Museum and the National Art Museum of China, Beijing, 2007), co-authored with Patricia Johnston, and “Martha Coffin Derby’s Grand Tour: ‘It is Impossible to Travel Without Improvement,’” Women’s Art Journal (May 2007).

Props and Performance: Reading History through Artifacts

Spotlight: Paul Revere, Jr., Silver Teapot, 1796
June 29, 2010

Jessica Lanier discusses the work of Paul Revere, most notably his silversmith work in the Rococo style, crafted in the late 18th Century. Revere’s work reflects a period in early American history of the first public rebellions against the British crown.

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Ellen Miles

Dr. Ellen G. Miles, Curator Emerita, Department of Painting and Sculpture, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, is a preeminent scholar of American portraiture. Her many publications include Gilbert Stuart (2004); George Washington: A National Treasure (2002); and Saint-Mémin and the Neoclassical Profile Portrait in America (1994). Dr. Miles appeared in the Smithsonian Networks documentary, Picturing the President: George Washington.

Spotlight: Gilbert Stuart, George Washington: The Lansdowne Portrait, 1796

July 2, 2010

Dr. Miles uses the work of artist Gilbert Stuart to explain the importance of portraiture in the Federal period, and how we can view portraits as American political and social statements. Dr. Miles shows how Stuart’s portrait of George Washington reflected events of the 1790s including the Jay Treaty of 1794.

CREDIT: Gilbert Stuart, George Washington (Lansdowne Portrait), oil on canvas, 1796; National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; acquired as a gift to the nation through the generosity of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation

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Melissa Dabakis

Melissa Dabakis is Professor of Art History and American Studies at Kenyon College and the author of Visualizing Labor in American Sculpture (1999) and the forthcoming The American Corinnes: Women Sculptors and the Eternal City, 1850-1876.

Representing Race in Neoclassical Sculpture

Spotlight: Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment Memorial, 1884-97
July 5, 2010

Melissa Dabakis discusses how, in this memorial sculpture of Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment, Saint-Gaudens embodies a turning point in the representation of African-American soldiers in American art.

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Lucretia Giese

Lucretia Giese is Professor Emerita at the Rhode Island School of Design and a former curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Dr. Giese has published numerous articles on the work of Winslow Homer and is the co-editor, with Patricia Burnham, of Redefining American History Painting (1995).

Representing History

July 8, 2010

The quintessential history painting is Charles Le Brun’s The Queens of Persia at the Feet of Alexander, also called The Tent of Darius. To understand what is being represented one should study the placement of the characters, their scale, and how the artist trained to create such a history painting.

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Spotlight: Emanuel Leutze, Washington Crossing the Delaware, 1851

July 8, 2010

Washington Crossing the Delaware represents an actual historical event. The artist Emanuel Leutze made many studies of this subject in preparation for the final painting. He took some liberties to make the painting more iconic while preserving its historic subject.

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Representing the Civil War

July 9, 2010

This lecture by Lucretia Giese illuminates how the American Civil War (1861-65) was represented by artists including Albert Bierstadt, Sanford Gifford, Jarvis McEntee, Frederic Church, and Emanuel Leutze.

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Alan Wallach

Alan Wallach, Ralph H. Wark Professor of Art History and American Studies at The College of William and Mary, received the 2007 College Art Association's Distinguished Teaching of Art History Award, which cited him for his innovative approach to the teaching and the study of American art.  Wallach is the author of Exhibiting Contradiction: Essays on the Art Museum in the United States (1998), co-editor and principal author of Thomas Cole: Landscape into History (1994), and has published over 100 essays and articles on topics ranging from nineteenth-century American landscape painting to museum ethics.

Thomas Cole: Course of Empire

July 13, 2010

Alan Wallach discusses the early phases of Thomas Cole’s career focusing on the ways in which British landscape and American literature influenced his art.   In two landscape paintings based on scenes from James Fennimore Cooper’s novel The Last of the Mohicans, Cole combined the dramatic setting of the American wilderness with the fraught confrontations between whites and Native Americans.

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Aesthetics of Hudson River School

July 13, 2010

Alan Wallach discusses works by three Hudson River School painters who in the 1850s and 1860s built upon the artistic legacy of Thomas Cole.  Professor Wallach compares Cole’s small painting of Niagara (1829) with Frederic Church’s spectacular panoramic rendition of the same subject.  He also considers how, in Starrucca Viaduct (1865), Jasper Cropsey celebrated a modern engineering marvel while, at the same time, reconciling modernity with a traditional pastoral.

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Janice Simon

Janice Simon is the Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Georgia. She has written extensively on American landscape aesthetics and the reproduction of landscapes in 19th-century American periodicals. Her publications include Images of Contentment: John F. Kensett and the Connecticut Shore, and chapters in Classical Ground: Mid-Nineteenth Century American Painters and the Italian Encounter and Seeing High and Low: Representing Social Conflict in American Visual Culture. She is currently working on a book on the image of the forest interior in American art.

William Bartram and John James Audubon

Spotlight: John James Audubon, American Flamingo, 1838
July 16, 2010

Janice Simon discusses the work of William Bartram and his “heir” John James Audubon, with a focus on how each expressed nature and the environment in sketches and paintings. Audubon’s American Flamingo (1838), for example, displays the influence of Bartram as well as components of Romanticism.

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Frederic Edwin Church in New England

July 16, 2010

Janice Simon’s lecture explains how Frederic Edwin Church, Thomas Cole’s greatest student, created landscapes that conveyed natural history as well as expressed historical and religious meanings in his depictions of New England.

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