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French Realist Painting and the Critique of American Society, 1865–1900

French Realist Painting and the Critique of American Society, 1865–1900

  • Date Published: November 1995
  • availability: Unavailable - out of print
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521461030


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About the Authors
  • This book examines public reception of contemporary French painting in post-Civil War American society and demonstrates how a variety of audiences, from small capitalists to workers, used foreign images to politicise their claims to cultural lives. Analysed from class and regional perspectives, popular responses to Realist and Impressionist painting, recorded in the daily press and radical journals, are shown to articulate conflicting attitudes toward equality and doubts about the fate of democracy in an industrialised society. At another level, French genre and landscape, which had been associated with the 1848 Revolution and the rise of the Third Republic, also provoked American thinkers to reassess their national culture and reconceptualise definitions of democratic art. The methods of art history, reception theory, and social history merge in this study to explain how Americans came to see themselves in foreign art, and how the public gave these images meanings independent of official art criticism and their original French contexts.

    • Interdisciplinary book with a cross-cultural scope, combining analyses of high and low culture
    • Combines methods of art and social history, reception theory, and cultural critique
    • Draws on non-traditional sources from the labour press, radical journals, daily newspapers
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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 1995
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521461030
    • length: 336 pages
    • dimensions: 262 x 209 x 27 mm
    • weight: 1.228kg
    • contains: 67 b/w illus.
    • availability: Unavailable - out of print
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Peasant Images as Critique and Capital
    3. Peasant Icons for the Conflicted Middle Class
    4. Courbet, Corot, and democratic poetics
    5. Impressionism, pathology and progress
    6. Conclusion

  • Author

    Laura L. Meixner, Cornell University, New York

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