From course catalog:
What can art history and American History tell us about each other? Painting, sculpture, photographs and popular media helped nineteenth-century Americans imagine race, nation, and the spirit while design shaped their environment. Ideas and images from this period inform the way we think today. We will study how the United States changed from a rural to an industrial, urban nation; slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction redefined the country, Westward movement and the accompanying confinement of Native peoples enlarged it, and waves of immigration and border movement changed its population. The rise of a middle class and the accompanying ideal of the “American home” were all products of the nineteenth century. American artists and architects sought to rival their European contemporaries and eventually produced distinctive works that responded to these national trends. Through hands-on research in archives and visits to see original works of art in museums and libraries, along with readings in primary-source documents and recent critical interpretations, we will examine both developments in the fine arts and the impact of historical change on the material and popular culture of everyday life in America. Among the artists and architects we will study are Thomas Cole, Winslow Homer, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Matthew Brady’s photographic studio, Louis Sullivan, and the Cheyenne artist Howling Wolf.