Painting is one of the most interesting forms of art. It depicts life in vivid colors and speaks so much about oneself, the painter’s aspirations, his surroundings, and his nation. It has become a tool not just for personal expression but most importantly, a tool for preserving good memories of history’s most important people and events.
Below are some of the highlights in America’s painting background. Let’s take a look at how painting developed in America and some of the greatest American painters who in one way or another marked a lasting imprint in the history of American art.
The puritan values of early English settlers in North America were so acute that they shunned all sorts of luxury such as artistic expressions such as painting, a flourishing art in Europe especially in England. Beginning to settle in a strange land was very hard for these new settlers so they busied themselves with only the most critical things.
However, there were already some portraits noted during the first years of the settlement. They were naturally artistic as they trained themselves by moving from one place to another to paint portraits of ordinary people. Coaching in an art college was contrary to their strict Puritan way of life.
Growth of American Art
Apparently, early Americans’ interest in painting grew larger that several years later after having established their life in the united states, American painters started to go to England to study.
Although early American painters were highly influenced by artistic styles currently developed in Europe, as years passed by they started to create their own style in painting. In 19th century in particular, remarkable difference between paintings of American painters and those of their European counterparts started to appear. This distinctive American style was not only shown by American painters but as well as other American artists, especially in the area of architecture.
Diversity in painting styles of American painters was also promoted by the country’s big geographical size. American painters from each region showed variations in their works. Moreover, there were differences in the works of American painters residing in the cities and people of American painters living in rural areas.
Today it is now called The National Academy, which is also a museum and a school for fine arts.
Society of American Artists
First members of the Society of American Artists include American painters Robert Swain Gifford, an American landscape painter; John Henry Twachtman, hottest impressionist landscape painter in his time; John LaFarge who was also famous for his stained glass windows and writings; and Albert Pinkham Ryder, famous for his seascapes. These American painters left the National Academy of Design and formed their own association since the first failed to meet their needs as musicians.
Ten American Painters
Because of the Society of American Artists’ rising commercialism, ten important American painters resigned from the institution and were know as the”Six American Painters.” Among them were John Henry Twachtman, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Edmund Charles Tarbell, and Frank Weston Benson. The group was identified as impressionists.