The West as America: Reinterpreting images of the frontier, 1820-1920

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9781560980247: The West as America: Reinterpreting images of the frontier, 1820-1920

Book by Truettner, William H. (ed)

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From Publishers Weekly:

As American settlers pushed ever westward from 1820 to 1920, artists fleshed out the theme of inevitable expansion. This attractively illustrated study--a tie-in with a touring exhibition--brilliantly reassesses Western and frontier art, demonstrating how such painters as Albert Bierstadt, George Catlin, Thomas Moran, George Caleb Bingham and Frederic Remington drew a veil over unsavory aspects of frontier life. Instead, the text argues, the artists subtly substituted a myth of secular progress, in which settlers went west to tame the wilderness, uplift "savages" or spread the gospel of democracy. Led by Truettner, a curator at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American Art, seven scholars decode Capitol murals, landscapes of Edenic wilderness, portraits of Indians, and idealized views of cowboys, squatters, ranchers and river-boaters that have nurtured popular images of the Wild West.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

America's westward "progress" as manifested by art is the focus of this provocative and, at times, disturbing exhibition catalog. Bringing together over 300 illustrations, it reveals how a questionable record of conquests was whitewashed by contemporary artists to correspond to an East Coast, Anglo-Saxon vision of empire. The authors (including such notables as Howard Lamar, Patricia Hills, and Elizabeth Johns) contend that in a century of conflicts with wars over slavery, against Indians, and for land, art did not capture history but rather helped to create myths and stereotypes. Biographical information for 86 artists is included. The color reproductions are passable but the black-and-white illustrations are small and of unequal quality. Recommended chiefly for penetrating essays and a refreshing approach.
- Russell T. Clement, Brigham Young Univ. Lib., Provo, Ut.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Truettner, William H., Editor
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William H., Editor Truettner
Published by Published for the National Museum of American Art by the Smithsonian Institution Press (1991)
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