Art of the American Spirit: A Practical Introduction to
American and California Painting
Abstract Expressionism An American art
movement that began in the 1940s emphasizing free, spontaneous and personal
emotional expression. Pioneered by such artists as Jackson Pollock (1912-1956),
Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) and Mark Rothko (1903-1970), Abstract
Expressionism is seen by many critics as representing a dividing line between
"traditional" American painting and the broader, global movement now
studied under the rubric of "Modern Art."
American Scene Painting
Sometimes dubbed the "American Gothic" school after the famous
portrait by Grant Wood (1892-1942) of a 1930s farming couple, this hard-edged
style of painting focused on typical scenes of American life after World War I,
and also includes works by Edward Hopper (1882-1967) and Georgia O'Keeffe
Art Deco An art movement that mixed modern
decorate art styles, largely derived from avant-garde painting styles of the
early 20th Century. Art deco paintings display elements of abstraction,
distortion and simplification and highlight geometric shapes and intense colors
celebrating the rise of commerce, technology and speed.
Catalogue Raisonne A catalogue of all an
artist's known works, including exhibition dates, details about selected works,
and examples of signatures that the artist used. These books, which also provide
well-researched biographies of the artist, can be an important tool for
collectors looking to broaden their knowledge of a particular painter's work.
Chiaroscuro A method where artists create
depth and mood through the use of light and dark shades. The term, taken from
the Italian words for "light" and "dark", is often used to
refer to paintings in the Hudson River school,
where painters used light to make dramatic points about man and his relationship
Crackle a network of cracks which sometimes
forms on the surface of oil painting, similar to "crazing" in
Colonial Painting Paintings done in the
American colonies before the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Often by
semi-trained artists, these paintings are frequently portraits of Colonists and
their families, rendered in a flat, stiff style similar to works done a century
before in England.
Glaze A lawyer of transparent oil color laid
on top of a painting to subtly alter its tone.
Gouache a painting
technique in which gum is added to water colors to produce an opaque effect.
A movement of art and literature based in the African-American community of
Harlem in uptown Manhattan in the mid- and late 1920s. Fed by immigration from
the southern states, Harlem emerged as the economic, political and cultural
center of black America and boasted some of the most daring writers, painters
and sculptors of the era. Famous painters include Aaron Douglas (1898-1979) and
Charles Henry Alston (1907-1997).
Hudson River School
A group of American landscape painters of the mid-19th century who took a
Romantic approach to depicting the Hudson River Valley in New York state, as
well as lands further west. Their dramatic paintings of the American landscape,
often embracing moral or literary associations, helped to define a uniquely
American style of painting that persists to this day. Famous examples of Hudson
River school painters include Washington Allston (1779-1843), Albert Bierstadt
(1830-1902), and Frederic Church (1826-1900).
painting style launched in the 1860s by French artists who sought to convey the
effects of sunlight on things at different times of day. Gradually becoming an
international art movement, Impressionism was spearheaded by French painters
such as Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), Edgar Degas (1834-1917) and Claude Monet
(1840-1926). American Impressionism evolved in the latter 19th century, and was
led by such famous painters as Mary Cassatt (1845-1926) and John Henry Twachtman
Luminism An American landscape painting style
of the 1850s-1870s which specialized in evoking a poetic atmosphere,
characterized by emphasizing the effects of light in landscapes and hiding the
painter's individual brush strokes. It is related to Impressionism, and
reflected in many works of the Hudson River School. Prominent American luminists
inlucde Fitz Hugh Lane (1804-1865), John F. Kensett (1816-1872), and Martin J.
Medium The type of paint used for an art work.
Pastel A soft or subdued
color. Also, a drawing stick made of mixed chalk, or a drawing done with these
done to repair blemishes or aging in a painting. Of widely varying quality,
restoration work can be expected on many older paintings, ranging from
"relining", or applying a new, stronger canvas to the back of the
original work, to "inpainting", or applying new paint to flaking,
cracked, or discolored areas.
Romanticism An artistic movement in both
Europe and the United States that characterized many works of literature,
painting, music, and architecture from the late 18th century to the mid-19th
century. Seen as a reaction against the sober precepts of Classicism,
Romanticism sought to emphasize the individual, the personal, the emotional, and
the transcendental aspects of man's interaction with the world.
The American Ten Sometimes dubbed "Ten
American Painters", this group of artists from New York and Boston was
influenced by French Impressionism and exhibited together from 1898-1919. They
helped pioneer the tradition in modern art of setting up exhibiting
organizations independent of official bodies like museums a move which
helped bring wider exposure to those that followed.