American art at the nineteenth-century Paris Salons /

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Main Author: Fink, Lois Marie.
Format: Book
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Review by Choice Review

In this thoroughgoing study Fink traces the participation of American artists in the official French Salons from 1800 to 1810, when very few exhibited, to the last three decades of the 19th century, when more than 1,000 Americans exhibited close to 4,500 objects. To do this Fink scrutinized all available documents related to the Salons (detailed data on the American participants and their entries are given in a 96-page appendix). Fink deals with broad questions concerning the changing nature of the Salons, always influenced by French political circumstances, and with the changes in the kinds of subjects that enjoyed popularity. The range included heavily literary history paintings, portraits, landscapes, and works in the last decades that reflected intellectual concerns with Darwinian and Freudian concepts. Although focus is on the Americans, this is also a perceptive study of the role the Salons played in shaping French, American, and European taste and artistic patronage. (In the late 19th century the Americans made up the largest number of foreign exhibitors.) This is difficult material, but because of the many intelligent insights the text is lively and readable. This pioneer study will not be replaced for many years. Good color and black-and-white reproductions, including some interesting little-known works. Excellent bibliography and notes. Recommended for graduate and upper-level undergraduate art history libraries. -J. J. Poesch, Tulane University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

For American artists, participation in the Parisian Salons, annual exhibitions sanctioned by the Paris establishment, was a ticket to social acceptance and commercial potential. There John Singer Sargent found a receptive audience for his full-length portraits, initially mocked by Americans. Mary Cassatt first came to the attention of Degas at the Salon of 1874; conservative artists such as Childe Hassam adapted impressionist techniques observed in works hung at the Salon. Publicity hounds like James Whistler reaped the rewards of notoriety from both acceptance and rejection of their paintings, exhibited along with the work of Benjamin West, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, George Catlin, Thomas Eakins and William Merritt Chase. In this richly illustrated study, Fink, a curator at the National Museum of American Art, looks at cross-cultural influences and jockeying for prestige among Americans abroad who forged a strong figurative tradition. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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