Discovered Lands, Invented Pasts: Transforming Visions of the American West

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9780300057225: Discovered Lands, Invented Pasts: Transforming Visions of the American West

A common theme of western American art--from the depictions of Indians by early explorers to the monumental landscapes of Albert Bierstadt to the vibrant images of Georgia O'Keeffe--is the transformation of the land through European-American exploration and resettlement. In this handsome book, leading authorities look at western American art of the past three centuries, reevaluating it from the perspectives of history, art history, and American studies.
Jules David Prown begins the book by discussing the need for interdisciplinary approaches to broaden the study of western American art. Nancy K. Anderson then calls for a reconsideration of western art as art rather than documentation and for the adoption of new methods to probe its aesthetic, historical, political, and cultural complexities. William Cronon explores what an environmental historian might learn from American landscape art, concluding that each image must be read as a multilayered view intertwining past, present, and future within a larger context of progress and expansionism. Examining representations of American Indians, Brian W. Dippie finds that early works pictured Indians caught up in a process of dramatic change while later artists showed them frozen outside of time; when the frontier ended, western art made nostalgia its defining characteristic. Martha A. Sandweiss argues that the ways in which views of the American west and its peoples reached nineteenth-century audiences--through large edition prints, book illustrations, or theatrical exhibitions--significantly affected both the images and the meanings attached to them. Susan Prendergast Schoelwer challenges popular perceptions of the frontier as a womanless domain, discovering abundant pictures of Native American women in the art of the western fur trade. Howard R. Lamar concludes by discussing the changing perceptions of western artists and inhabitants of their region's landscape in the twentieth century.
Publication of this book will coincide with an exhibition organized by the Yale University Art Gallery and the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma, opening at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming.

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From Library Journal:

Published in conjunction with an exhibition organized by the Yale University Art Gallery and the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, this book takes an interdisciplinary look at the art of the American West. In seven essays illustrated with examples from the exhibit, contributors from the fields of history, art history, and American studies examine significant Western artists of the last three centuries. Three themes emerge: discovery, erasure, and invention. The book achieves the goal declared in its subtitle by revealing a transforming vision of the West created by Euro-American artists. Recommended for most art collections, especially those with an emphasis on the American West.
- Terri P. Summey, Emporia State Univ. Lib., Kan.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Prown, Professor Jules David, Anderson,
Published by Yale University Press (1992)
ISBN 10: 0300057229 ISBN 13: 9780300057225
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Professor Jules David Prown; Nancy k Anderson; William Cronon; Professor Brian W. Dippie; Martha A. Sandweiss; Ms. Susan Prendergast Schoelwer; Professor Howard R. Lamar
Published by Yale University Press (1992)
ISBN 10: 0300057229 ISBN 13: 9780300057225
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