Tales from the Easel: Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century American Narrative Paintings, circa 1800-1950

by Dr. Charles C. Eldredge



1. Nancy Willard, Simple Pictures Are Best (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977).

2. Walter Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama; as quoted in Craig Owens, "The Allegorical Impulse: Toward a Theory of Post modernism," in Beyond Recognition: Representation, Power, and Culture, ed. Scott Bryson et al. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), 56.

3. Robert Scholes and Robert Kellogg, The Nature of Narrative (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966), 4.

4. Rufus Jarman, "Profiles: U.S. Artists -- II," New Yorker, March 24, 1945: 36.

5. H. L. Mencken, "The Sahara of the Bozart," in The American Scene: A Reader, ed. Huntington Cairns (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977), 117. Originally printed in shorter form in the New York Evening Mail, Nov. 13, 1917.

6. Although the "Lansdowne" portrait is sometimes described as a depiction of Washington addressing Congress, the subject stands inert and closemouthed, "as still as a statue" (in Richard McLanathan's happy phrase) with no suggestion of oratorical flourish. Richard McLanathan, Gilbert Stuart (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1986), 88.

7. Meyer Schapiro, Words and Pictures: On the Literal and Symbolic in the Illustration of a Text (The Hague: Mouton, 1973), 39.

8. See Dorinda Evans, The Genius of Gilbert Stuart (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999), for a discussion of the variants on this composition.

9. For a discussion of Stearns's Washington paintings, see Mark Edward Thistlethwaite, The Image of George Washington: Studies in Mid-Nineteenth-Century American History Painting (New York: Garland, 1979).

10. Mark Thistlethwaite notes that when Stearns exhibited the painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and at the National Academy of Design, both in 1854, it was with the title Washington, the Farmer. Mark Thistlethwaite, "Picturing the Past: Junius Brutus Stearns's Paintings of George Washington," Arts in Virginia 25 (1985): 19, n. 28. From the more generic "Farmer" title, John Vlach concludes that Stearns aimed "to make Washington more approachable. Perhaps he intended the term to insulate Washington from any of the stigma that nonsoutherners might have associated with the word 'planter.''' John Vlach, The Planter's Prospect: Privilege and Slavery in Plantation Paintings (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002), 194, n. 49.

11. Horatio Hastings Weld, The Life of George Washington (Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blakiston, 1845), 146; quoted in Barbara]. Mitnick, "Paintings for the People: American Popular History Painting, 1875-1930," in Picturing History: American Painting, 1770-1930, ed. William Ayres (New York: Rizzoli, 1993), 161-64.

12.Just as genre or history painting is often discussed in literary terms of its narrative, so too has literature been described in pictorial terms. Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi, for instance, with its classic description of the folklife of raftsmen, has been called "a genre painting, both realistic and idealized." Hennig Cohen, "Folklore in Literature," Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, ed. Charles Reagan Wilson and William Ferris (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989), 855.

13. A. Saule, "Genre Pictures," The Aldine 9 (1878-79): 22. Henry Tuckerman anticipated this reaction when he noted that "the greater part of the literature of the country has sprung from New England, and is therefore, as a general rule, too unimpassioned and coldly elegant for popular effect." Henry T. Tuckerman, "A Sketch of American Literature," in Thomas B. Shaw, Outlines of English Literature (Philadelphia: Blanchard and Lea, 1856), 434.

14. Sanford Schwartz, "Back to the Future" (review of Elizabeth Prettejohn, The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites), New York Review of Books, Feb. 8, 2001: 12.

15. Lesley Carol Wright, "Men Making Meaning in Nineteenth-Century American Genre Painting, 1860-1900" (Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University, 1993), 44.

16. Frederick Wedmore, The Masters of Genre Painting (London: Kegan Paul, 1880),2.

17. Susan Danly, Telling Tales: Nineteenth Century Narrative Painting from the Collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (New York: American Federation of Arts, 1991), 10.

18. David Thorburn, "Television as an Aesthetic Medium," Critical Studies in Mass Communication 4 (1987): 167-68,170.

19. Thorburn, "Television as an Aesthetic Medium," 171.

20. Roland Barthes, "Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narratives," in Image -- Music -- Text, trans. Stephen Heath (New York: Hill and Wang, 1977), 79.

21. Introduction to Storytellers: Folktales and Legends from the South, ed. John A. Burrison (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1989),1.

22. Tuckerman, "A Sketch of American Literature," 433-34.

23. Horace Bradley, Atlanta Constitution, May 7, 1882; quoted in Carlyn Gaye Crannell, "In Pursuit of Culture: A History of Art Activity in Atlanta, 1847-1926" (Ph.D. dissertation, Emory University, 1981), 21.

24. Barbara Novak, Nature and Culture: American Landscape and Painting, 1825-1875 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980),3.

25. Edward Hicks, Memoirs of the Life and Religious Labors of Edward Hicks, Late of Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Written by Himself; quoted in Carolyn J. Weekley, The Kingdoms of Edward Hicks (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1999), 236, n. 13.

26. Charles C. Eldredge and Barbara B. Millhouse, American Originals: Selections from Reynolda House, Museum of American Art (New York: Abbeville, 1990),34.

27. Weekley, The Kingdoms of Edward Hicks, 53.

28. Andrew Wilton and Tim Barringer, American Sublime: Landscape Painting in the United States, 1820-1880 (London: Tate, 2002),88.

29. W. E. B. Du Bois, "The Looking Glass: Tanner," Crisis 31 Jan.1926): 146. Du Bois was speaking of an earlier version of the same subject (unlocated) that was exhibited at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1926.

30. Albert Boime, Thomas Couture and the Eclectic Vision (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980), 604.

31. Sykes quoted in James Saxon Childers, "Meet Maltby Sykes, Talented Local Young Artist," Birmingham News, June 23, 1940. I am grateful to Alice Carter, librarian at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, for bringing this article to my attention.

32. "There is no Frigate like a Book," no. 1286 in The Poems of Emily Dickinson, ed. R. W. Franklin (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap, 1999), 501.

33.James Fenimore Cooper, The Pioneers (1823; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991),197 (chap. 17). For a discussion of Deas's painting and its relation to Cooper's text, see Elwood Parry, The Image of the Indian and the Black Man in American Art, 1590-1900 (New York: George Braziller, 1974), 77-81. Deas appears to be the first painter, and among the few, to depict Cooper's turkey shoot incident. William Walcutt followed with an oil painting, circa 1845-50 (Smithsonian American Art Museum), as did Tompkins H. Matteson in 1857 (New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown).

34. "The Second Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor," in Arabian Night's Entertainments, ed. Robert L. Mack (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 147-151.

35. Joshua C. Taylor et al., Perceptions and Evocations: The Art of Elihu Vedder (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1979),62-63. Vedder's interest in Sinbad's adventures with the Roc was unusual but not unique among American artists. Thomas Moran, who was better known for his depictions of western landscape, in 1897 painted a watercolor of the subject, Sinbad and the Roc (unlocated). In 1906-7, Maxfield Parrish, on a commission from Collier's, produced a series of twelve illustrations for The Arabian Nights, which appeared in a special volume in 1909.

36. Elizabeth Broun, Albert Pinkham Ryder (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989),66.

37. Rick Stewart, "Carroll Cloar," in Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, ed. Charles Reagan Wilson and William Ferris (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989), 121.

38. Henry McBride, "The Art of Burroughs," Fine Arts Journal 36 (1918): 63. In the purposeful merger of modern and ancient references, Burroughs coincidentally paralleled the practice of Henry O. Tanner. W. E. B. Du Bois proposed that the pall in Tanner's Sodom and Gomorrah (cat. no. 59) was inspired by explosions during World War I, a "characteristic interpretation of old-world stories and legends into which enters some aspect of our own day." Du Bois, "The Looking Glass: Tanner," 146.

39. "Tribute Is Paid to Classical and Whimsical Art of Burroughs," Art Digest, April 1, 1935: 10.

40. Elliott Daingerfield, "Sketch of his life -- written by Elliott Daingerfield -- in response to a request" (unpublished and undated typescript, Elliott Daingerfield estate files, Center for the Study of Southern Painting, Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Ga.), 2. I am grateful to J. Richard Gruber for calling this document to my attention.

41. Elliott Daingerfield, "The Sleepers," in Victorian Visionary: The Art of Elliott Daingerfield, by Estill Curtis Pennington and]. Richard Gruber (Augusta, Ga.: Morris Museum of Art, 1994), 43.

42. Patricia M. Burnham and Lucretia Hoover Giese, "Introduction: History Painting: How It Works," in Redefining American History Painting, ed. Burnham and Giese (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995),1.

43. Craig Owens, "The Allegorical Impulse: Toward a Theory of Postmodernism," in Owens, Beyond Recognition: Representation, Power, and Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), 53-54, 57. Emphasis in original.

44. Moser's painting (sadly, unlocated), as described at length in the local press, included a rich combination of regional references. It featured "a beautiful brunette girl draped in the American flag which falls in graceful folds about a still more graceful figure. Her left hand rests upon a bale of cotton while her right is extended in a welcome to all visitors. Above the 'New South' stands uncle Sam, his face beaming with satisfaction as he joins in the welcome and points with pride to achievements of the 'New South.' Columbia, on a seat of state behind a bale of cotton, which is surmounted with a crown and wreaths, has relaxed her features into a smile of approval. An Indian chief quietly smokes his pipe in the foreground and presents a picture of the most supreme satisfaction. 'Clio,' with pen and tablet in hand, sits eager to catch and record each word of praise of the grand and glorious event in the history of the south. The familiar faces of 'Uncle Remus' and 'Old Si' peep from opposite sides of the tableau, which, with its marble columns, brocaded curtains, plush carpets, etc., etc., rises from the very midst of a cotton field, from which negroes are picking the great staple. . . . The left side of the picture represents the agricultural features of the south; a scene of Mississippi cotton country stretches away toward a dim horizon, showing the 'big house' of the planter, the negro quarters, the modern cotton presses, that the old screw will soon be numbered among the things that were, and a brief view of the Mississippi river with boats plying in the distance. With the blue waters of the gulf of Mexico for a background, the city of New Orleans is seen with her crowded levee. Mississippi steamboats are discharging their cargoes of cotton, while a forest of tall masted ocean vessels await patiently their load of compressed bales for manufactures beyond the sea. Following up the river from the city is seen high brick cotton factories, a reminder that cotton is manufactured with success in Mississippi, where so much of it is grown." Atlanta Constitution, Nov.11, 1881; quoted in Crannell, "In Pursuit of Culture," 151-52.

45. Douglas Southall Freeman, foreword to A Treasury of Southern Folklore, ed. B. A. Botkin (New York: Crown, 1949), vii.

46. The Confederate Veteran, May 1907; quoted in James A. Hoobler, Gilbert Gaul, American Realist (Nashville: Tennessee State Museum, 1992), 5. The Southern Art Publishing Company's venture failed and the portfolio was never realized in full, although five editions of selected works were subsequently issued and sold.

47. While in Libya in 1943, Wilt painted a "portrait" of a B-25 (oil on canvas, 20 x 24 inches), which is illustrated in Richard Wilt, exh. cat. (Pontiac, Mich.: Creative Center for Art, 1998), 17.

48. The expansive scene, painstakingly detailed in tile documentation of figures and armaments, was intended for a print; the painting's strong contrasts of light and dark would have aided tile printmaker in making that translation. An engraving of the subject was published in Paris in 1817. Estill Curtis Pennington, Downriver: Currents of Style in Louisiana Painting, 1800-1950 (Gretna, La.: Pelican, 1990), 96-97.

49. "Review of the Exhibition," Portfolio Magazine 8:1 (July 1812): 22-23.

50. Kevin Sack, "In Its Heart, It's a Southern Town," New York Times, March 4, 2001, Sophisticated Traveler section, p. 16

51. Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The American Scholar" (1837), in Selections from Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Stephen E. Whicher (Boston: Houghton Miffiin, 1957), 78.

52. For the Doyle cartoon, see Bruce W. Chambers, The World of David Gilmour Blythe (1815-1865) (Washington: National Collection of Fine Arts, 1980), 61, fig. 37.

53. As Estill Pennington has pointed out, the parable from tile Old Testament offers another parallel to the painting's subject; like tile slave-owner father, Abraham also abandoned another son, Ishmael, who was born of a miscegenational relationship with the faithful servant Hagar. After Sarah gave birth to Isaac, Abraham expelled both Hagar and Ishmael into the desert. Estill Curtis Pennington, Look Away: Reality and Sentiment in Southern Art (Spartanburg, S.C.: Saraland, 1989), 18.

54. Unidentified critic, quoted in Harold Holzer and Mark E. Neely Jr., Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: The Civil War in Art (New York: Orion Books, 1993), 254.

55. The Art Journal (1876), quoted in William Lipke, Thomas Waterman Wood, PNA (1823-1903) (Montpelier, Vt.: Wood Art Gallery, 1972), 41-44.

56. "I did not do one on Swing Low Sweet Chariot because it had been well handled by John McCrady, a Mississippi artist working in New Orleans, and was reproduced in Life magazine." Lamar Baker, Recollections of an Art Student (New York: Vantage, 1990), 143-44.

57. Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (1784); quoted in Vernon Louis Parrington, Main Currents in American Thought: The Colonial Mind, 1520-1800 (1927; New York: Harcourt, Brace &: World, 1954), 353.

58. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer (1782); quoted in Alfred Kazin, A Writer's America: Landscape in Literature (New York: Knopf, 1988), 28.

59. William U. Eiland, "Picturing the Unvictorious: The Southern Scene in Alabama, 1930-1946," in The American Scene and the South, ed. Patricia Phagan (Athens: Georgia Museum of Art, 1996), 39.

60. Quoted in Louis D. Rubin Jr., introduction to I'll Take My Stand, by Twelve Southerners (New York: Harper &: Brothers, 1962), viii-ix.

61. Donald Davidson, "A Mirror for Artists," in I'll Take My Stand, 29.

62. Andrew Nelson Lytle, "The Hind Tit," in I'll Take My Stand, 205.

63. Roxana Barry, Land of Plenty: Nineteenth Century American Picnic and Harvest Scenes (Katonah, N.Y.: Katonah Gallery, 1981), 4.

64. Barry, Land of Plenty, 13.

65. "One Day in My Life," Harper's Weekly 2, no. 53 Jan. 2, 1858): 11.

66. Michael Kinunelman, "An Invigorating Homecoming," New York Times, April 12, 1996.

67. Go Peep, "The Promenader," Montgomery Advertiser-Journal, Jan. 9, 1949. I am grateful to Dr. Paul Richelson, Mobile Museum of Art, for providing a copy of this article.

68. Elizabeth McCausland, "Robert Gwathmey," Magazine of Art, April 1946: 149.

69. H. G. Wells, Tono-Bungay (New York: Duffield, 1909), 286-87.

70. David Park Curry, "Shopping, Collecting, Remembering: Some Turn-of-the-Century American Paintings," New York International Art Fair (spring 1996): 17.

71. Albert Eugene Gallatin, Art and the Great War (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1919), 45.

72. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, "Second Inaugural Address," in The lnaugural Addresses of the American Presidents from Washington to Kennedy, annotated by David Newton Lott (New York: 1961), 239.

73. David Riesman, The Lonely Crowd (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1950).

74. Michael Harrington, The Other America (New York: Macmillan, 1963), 136. The poor are at variance with America's "self image as a nation of joiners. . . [which is] a phenomenon of tile middle class" (133).

75. Choruses from "The Rock" (1934), in T. S. Eliot, The Complete Poems and Plays (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1952), 101. In Eliot's case, tile ideal was a community "in praise of God."

76. D. H. Lawrence, Studies in Classic American Literature (1923; New York: Viking, 1964), 6. Emphasis in original.

77. "Song of Myself," stanzas 15,20; Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, ed. Harold W. Blodgett and Sculley Bradley (New York: New York University Press, 1965), 44, 47.

78. Excerpt from Jacksonville newspaper, date unknown; quoted in typescript regarding painting, p. 2 (curatorial files, Birmingham Museum of Art).

79. For a surreal example, see Morris Kantor's Captain's House, 1929 (Smithsonian American Art Museum), or his Haunted House, 1930 (Art Institute of Chicago); for a social realist example, see Mitchell Siporin's The Homeless, 1939 (coll. Sandra and Bram Dijkstra).

80. Regina Soria, Elihu Vedder: American Visionary Artist in Rome (1836-1923) (Rutherford, NJ.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1970), 152.

81. James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man (1912; New York: Knopf, 1927), 90-97, 110-14.

82. Randolph Delehanty, Art in the American South: Works from the Ogden Collection (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996), 207.

83. For tile most famous examples, see James Agee and Walker Evans, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1941).

84. Soon after its completion, tile painting was exhibited at tile Art Institute of Chicago, tile National Academy of Design, and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, but it found no buyer, and Ufer's career never recovered. Shortly before her death in 1946, his widow gave tile painting to the Speed Museum in Louisville, which had been Ufer's childhood home. (For his fine Ufer research generally, and for specific details on the subject and history of Bob Abbott and His Assistant, I am indebted to my University of Kansas graduate student Jerry N. Smith and his seminar paper on this painting.)

85. Thomas Craven, Modern Art: The Men, the Movements, the Meaning (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1940),336.

86. "A Painter of Labor"; unidentified magazine clipping in vertical file (Chapin), American Art/Portrait Gallery Library, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

87. Guy C. McElroy, Facing History: The Black Image in American Art, 1710-1940 (San Francisco: Bedford Arts, 1990), 117. Chapin and Wood were among the nine American artists commissioned by the motion picture industry to produce paintings based on the filming of The Long Voyage Home. See "The Long Voyage Home as Seen and Painted by Nine American Artists," American Artist 4 (September 1940): 4-14.

88. Harry Salpeter, "Chapin: Little Man in Art," Esquire, Aug. 1940: 107.

89. C.J. Bulliet, "Our American Cezanne Looks at Nature," Chicago Evening Post: Magazine of the Art World, Dec. 29, 1925: 1.

90. F.L.K., "Paintings of Farm Life by James Chapin," Survey Graphic, Aug. 1928: 464.

91. Maureen C. O'Brien, "James Chapin: The Marvin Years," Montclair Art Museum Exhibition Notes (Montclair, N.J.: Montclair Art Museum, 1974), n.p.; copy in vertical files, American Art/Portrait Gallery Library, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

92. "James Chapin, American Painter," Christian Science Monitor, May 29, 1926.

93. Alexander Eliot, Three Hundred Years of American Painting (New York: Time, 1957), 206.

94. "An Evening in the Studio of James Chapin," American Artist, May 1941: 6-8.

95. Wright, "Men Making Meaning," 150-51. As in the late nineteenth century, so too in the late twentieth did emotional cues aid the pictorial narrative: "The narrative artist cannot assume that the viewer will believe in or feel compelled to even read his work. For this reason it is common for a narrative artist to seek a relatively accessible theme, often one which touches on emotional or action-packed issues as would a more vernacular form of narrative. Most frequently such themes are enriched by a narrative artist with a heightened sense of poignancy, mystery, or ambiguity." Marc Freidus, "Photographs and Narratives," in American Narrative/Story Art: 1967-1977, ed. Paul Schimmel (Houston: Contemporary Arts Museum, 1977), 15.

96. Boime, Thomas Couture, 590.

97. Elizabeth Johns, American Genre Painting: The Politics of Everyday Life (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1991).

98. "Editor's Table: The Fine Arts," Knickerbocker 16 (July 1840): 82.

99. Robert Burns, "To Daunton Me," in Poems and Songs of Robert Burns, ed.James Burke (London and Glasgow: Collins, 1955), 440.

100. The mastiff Rab was not part of the original composition but was added sometime between 1876 and 1879. Presumably this modification was made at the suggestion of, or with the consent of, the painting's owner, Charles Stewart Smith, and occasioned the change in title. For details on the painting's history, see Margaret C. Conrads, Winslow Homer and the Critics: Forging a National Art in the 1870s (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2001), 227, n. 64.

101. "The Fine Arts: Exhibition of the National Academy," New York Times, April 8, 1867,6-7. I am grateful to Margaret Conrads for providing copies of this and other reviews of Homer's 1875 work. For a thorough discussion of the critical response to Homer's contributions to the 1876 exhibition, see Conrads, Winslow Homer and the Critics, chap. 5.

102. Nicolai Cikovsky Jr., "A Harvest of Death: The Veteran in a New Field, "in Winslow Homer: Paintings of the Civil War, by Marc Simpson et al. (San Francisco: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1988), 93.

103. Edward Strahan [Earl Shinn], "Fine Arts: The National Academy Exhibition, II," The Nation 22 (April 20, 1876): 268.

104. Edward Strahan, ed., The Art Treasures of America, vol. 2 (1879; New York: Garland, 1977),91-92.

105. Clarence Cook, Review of National Academy of Design exhibition, New York Daily Tribune, April 18, 1876,2.

106. David M. Lubin, Picturing a Nation: Art and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994), chap. 4.

107. Lubin, Picturing a Nation, 193.

108. Though the kitchen and its provisions were customarily a feminine domain in the nineteenth century, in Cincinnati, where the Spencers once resided, Mrs. Trollope discovered that "It is the custom for the gentlemen to go to the market. . . . The smartest men in the place, and those of the 'highest standing' do not scruple to leave their beds with the sun, six days in the week, and, prepared with a mighty basket, to sally forth in search of meat, butter, eggs and vegetables." Frances Trollope, Domestic Manners of the Americans (1849); quoted in Robin Bolton-Smith, Lilly Martin Spencer, 1822-1902: The Joys of Sentiment (Washington, D.C.: National Collection of Fine Arts, 1973), 172-73.

109. The Hunter Museum's painting is likely Spencer's second version of the subject. Ellen Simak, A Catalogue of the American Collection, vol. 2 (Chattanooga: Hunter Museum of American Art, 2001), 13.

110. Harriet Martineau, Society in America (1837); quoted in Ella-Prince Knox et aI., Painting in the South: 1564-1980 (Richmond: Virginia Museum, 1983),234.

111. Carolyn Kinder Carr, "Prejudice and Pride: Presenting American Art at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition," in Revisiting the White City: American Art at the 1893 World's Fair, by Carolyn Kinder Carr et al. (Washington: National Museum of American Art and National Portrait Gallery, 199.'3), 98.

112. This connection was first proposed by Linda Bantel in American Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 2, by Natalie Spas sky et al. (New York: The Museum in association with Princeton University Press, 1985), 540.

113. Unidentified newspaper clipping, quoted in Elizabeth McCausland, The Life and Work of Edward Lamson Henry, .N.A., 1841-1919 (1945; New York: Kennedy Graphics and DaCapo, 1970), 64.

114. "There's a certain Slant of light," no. 320 in The Poems of Emily Dickinson, ed. R. W. Franklin (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap, 1999),142.

115. W.]. Lampton to E. L. Henry; quoted in McCausland, Edward Lamson Henry, 104.

116. Unidentified newspaper clipping, April 3, 1879; quoted in McCausland, Edward Lamson Henry, 105.

117. John 1. H. Baur, Philip Evergood (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1975), 47,50. More recently, the painter-critic Sidney Tillim similarly explained, "'currency' is only part of the motivation behind history painting . . . topicality destroys either the temporal or geographical remoteness that, indeed, insulates the event from reality and permits the imagination to simplify and 'idealize' it." Sidney Tillim, "Notes on Narrative and History Painting," Artforum 15 (May 1977): 43.

118. Ruth Berenson, "The Romantic Agony in America," Art News 42, no. 14 (Dec. 1,1943): 49.

119. Herman Baron, Statement for Philip Evergood exhibition catalogue, ACA Galleries, New York, March 24 - April 13, 1940, n.p. (copy in curatorial files, Georgia Museum of Art).

120. Sanford Gerard to Rockwell Kent, Feb. 21, 1946; in Rockwell Kent Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

121. Eric J. Schruers, "Interpreting the Real and the Ideal: Rockwell Kent's Lost Bituminous Coal Series Rediscovered," Kent Collector, summer 1999: 28. I am grateful to Professor Schruers, Mesa State College, for his helpful response to my questions regarding the series.

122. George MacBeth, "Subliminal Dreams," in Narrative Art, Art News Annual, ed. Thomas B. Hess and John Ashbery, 36 (1970): 29. Max Kozloff reiterated the ties between narration and advertising: "The narrative way. . . was the route taken in . . . the middlebrow arts, and the media -- in the movies, popular fiction, songs, mainstream theater, soaps, and the comics. And it was the implied structure of a great deal of advertising." Max Kozloff, "Through the Narrative Portal," Artforum 24:S (April 1986): 86.

123. Eugene Benson, "Childhood in Modern Literature," Appleton's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art 1 (April 24, 1869): US-19.

124. Henry T. Tuckerman, "Children," The Galaxy 4 (July 1867): 316.

125. The Token; A Christmas and New Year's Present (Boston, 1830); quoted in Andrew J. Cosentino, The Paintings of Charles Bird King (1785-1862) (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1977),93.

126. "When We Were Boys," in Sunshine at Home: Sparkling Pages for the Child, the Youth, the Parent (Battle Creek, Mich.: Review and Herald, 1883), 23.

127. Greville Chester, Transatlantic Sketches (London, 1869); quoted in Richard L. Rapson, "The American Child as Seen by British Travelers, 1845-1935," American Quarterly 17:3 (fall 1965): 521.

128. Lady Emmeline Stuart-Wortley, Travels in the United States (Paris, 1851), 67; quoted in Rapson, "The American Child," 521.

129. Walt Whitman, "Mannahatta," in Walt Whitman's Blue Book: The 1860-61 Leaves of Grass Containing His Manuscript Additions and Revisions (New York: New York Public Library, 1965), 405.

130. Walt Whitman, "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry," stanza 8, in Walt Whitman: Complete Poetry and Collected Prose (New York: Library of America, 1982), 312.

131. Williams cited only John Carlin's After a Long Cruise (Salts Ashore), 1857 (Metropolitan Museum of Art). Hermann Warner Williams, Mirror to the American Past: A Survey of American Genre Painting: 1750-1900 (Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic Society, 1973), 103.

132. Walter Rawls, The Great Book of Currier and Ives' America (New York, 1979), 527; cited in Lee M. Edwards, Domestic Bliss: Family Life in American Painting, 1840-1910 (Yonkers, N.Y.: Hudson River Museum, 1986),26.

133. Martha Hoppin, Country Paths and City Sidewalks: The Art of J. G. Brown (Springfield, Mass.: George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, 1989), 23.

134. Hoppin, Country Paths and City Sidewalks, 28.

135. Kozloff, "Through the Narrative Portal," 86.

136. Ernest W. Watson, "An Interview with Andree Ruellan," American Artist, October 1943: 8. Ruellan's interest in subjects at work or play appeared very early; April, a drawing of a person raking, with flowers and flying forms, was published in The Masses in April 1914, when the precocious artist was only eight years old.

137. Lincoln Kirstein, Paul Cadmus (San Francisco: Pomegranate Artbooks, 1992), 25.

138. William Grimes, "The Charge? Depraved. The Verdict? Out of the Show," New York Times, March 8, 1992.

139.Joseph O. Goodwin, "In a Country Store," Harper's New Monthly Magazine 40 (July 1870): 827.

140. Philip Eliasoph, Paul Cadmus: Yesterday and Today (Oxford, Ohio: Miami University Art Museum, 1981), 73.

141. Katherine Kuh, "Why Wyeth?" Saturday Review, Oct. 26, 1968, 26-27.

142. John W. Coffey, Entry for Wyeth's Winter 1946, in North Carolina Museum of Art Handbook of the Collections (Raleigh: North Carolina Museum of Art, 1998), 225.

143. Richard Meryman, "Andrew Wyeth: An Interview," in The Art of Andrew Wyeth, by Wanda M. Corn (Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic Society, 1973),58.

144. "American Realists," Time, July 16, 1951: 72. "Over on the other side of that hill was where my father was killed [when a train hit his car at a crossing], and I was sick I'd never painted him. The hill finally became a portrait of him." Richard Meryman, "Andrew Wyeth: An Interview," in Corn, Art of Andrew Wyeth,58.

145. Richard Meryman, Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life (New York: Harper Collins, 1996), 231.

146. "Andy's World," Time, Dec. 27, 1963: 51.

147. "Studio Notes," Art Interchange 4 (March 17,1880): 47. In 1883, Vedder sold a drawing to Harper and Brothers to serve as title page illustration for Poe's "The Raven." Elihu Vedder, The Digressions of V. (Boston and New York: Houghton Miffiin, 1910), 483.

148. For an account of one literary patron, see Regina Soria, "Mark Twain and Vedder's Medusa," American Quarterly 16 (winter 1964): 603-7. It is worth noting that in addition to his narrative paintings, Vedder also produced illustrations for others' texts, most notably a remarkable series of drawings (Smithsonian American Art Museum) illustrating Edward Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, published in 1884. Moreover, Vedder was a writer as well as a painter; his published works include poetry and fanciful short stories in addition to his autobiography, The Digressions of V.

149. Vedder suffered the loss of a third son, Nico, who died in 1916, leaving the artist's daughter Anita as his sole heir.

150. Vedder, Digressions, 236.

151. The other known examples of this type are catalogued in Elihu Vedder: American Visionary Artist in Rome (1836-1923), by Regina Soria (Rutherford, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson Press, 1970), nos. 300, 309, and 337. The High Museum's painting is not included in Soria's inventory.

152. Soria, Elihu Vedder, 321.

153. Illustrated London News, 1864; quoted in Phyllis Cunnington and Catherine Lucas, Costume for Births, Marriages, and Deaths (London, 1972), 142.

154. Richard Coe Jr., "The Vacant Chair," Godey's Lady's Book 40 (Jan. 1850): 69. I am grateful to Matthew Bailey for calling this verse to my attention. The image and the sentiment were frequently encountered at midcentury, as in the lament:

We shall meet but we shall miss him,
There will be one vacant chair;
We shall linger to caress him
While we breathe our evening prayer.

Henry S. Washburn and George F. Root, Chorus to "The Vacant Chair (We Shall Meet But We Shall Miss Him)" (Chicago, 1861).

155. Henry T. Tuckerman, Book of the Artists: American Artist Life (1867; New York: James F. Carr, 1966), 450.

156. Tennyson, as misquoted by Lambdin when he exhibited the painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1858. Ruth Irwin Weidner, George Cochran Lambdin, 1830-1896 (Chadds Ford, Pa.: Brandywine River Museum, 1986),21.

157. Tuckerman, Book of the Artists, 451.

158. The later painting pairs the deceased with a mourning woman and a child. Sotheby Parke-Bernet, New York: Sale catalogue, Nov. 17-19,1977, lot 494; cited in Weidner, George Cochran Lambdin, 51, n. 24.

159. Editor's note, Art Interchange 6 (March 3,1881): 56; quoted in Lois Fink, American Art at the Nineteenth-Century Paris Salons (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 166.

160. Parisian critic Albert Wolff, in Le Figaro; cited in H. Barbara Weinberg, The American Pupils of Jean-Léon Gerôme (Fort Worth, Tex.: Amon Carter Museum, 1984), 49, n. 42.

161. Fink, American Art at the Nineteenth-Century Paris Salons, 166.

162. Lilian Whiting, "The Art of Carl Gutherz," International Studio 24 (Feb. 1905): lxxxiii.

163. Carl Gutherz, "The Blue Book," 1892-93 (Memphis Brooks Museum of Art); quoted in Douglas Hyland, "Carl Gutherz and His Utopian Vision," Interpretations 13 (spring 1982): 64.

164. Dorothea Tanning, Between Lives: An Artist and Her World (New York: W. W. Norton, 2001), 146.

165. Linda Yablonsky, "Surrealist Views from a Real Live One," New York Times, March 24, 2002.

166. Dorothea Tanning, Birthday (San Francisco: Lapis, 1986), 73-74.

167. Yablonsky, "Surrealist Views."

168. Tanning, Between Lives, 177.

169. Tanning, Between Lives, 144-45.

170. Tanning, Birthday, 32.


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Editor's note: This essay was rekeyed and reprinted on July 9, 2004 in Resource Library Magazine with permission of Charles C. Eldredge and the University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. The essay was previously included in pages 7 through 70 in an illustrated exhibition catalogue for the exhibition Tales from the Easel: Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century American Narrative Paintings from Southeastern Museums, circa 1800-1950. The exhibit was held at the Columbus Museum from February 8 and through April 11, ,2004 with additional venues including the Tampa Art Museum (April 25-July 11, 2004), The Speed Art Museum (September 14-December 12, 2004) and the El Paso Art Museum (January 16-April 10, 2005). The exhibition catalogue was published in 2004, ISBN 0-8203-2569-4. Images accompanying the text in the exhibition catalogue were not reproduced with this reprinting. We wish to extend our appreciation to Mr. Tom Butler, director, The Columbus Museum for his courtesy in connection with this reprinting. If you have questions or comments regarding the essay, or if you have interest in obtaining a copy of the exhibition catalogue, please contact The Columbus Museum through either this phone number or web address:

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