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American Art

Updated on February 28, 2019
James A Watkins profile image

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.

American Painters

This is a brief overview of some of my favorite paintings by American artists.  Justice cannot be done in this short space to all of the wonderfully creative artists who have been Americans, so I feature my personal favorites.  My preference is Realism, so that is what is displayed here. 

John Singleton Copley

John Singleton Copley (1738-1815) was from Boston and he is the greatest painter of the colonial period. In 1774, already wildly successful with fortune and fame, he moved to London as the American Revolutionary War was incubating. He intended to return to America but never did.

"PAUL REVERE" BY JOHN SINGLETON COPLEY 1770
"PAUL REVERE" BY JOHN SINGLETON COPLEY 1770

William Sidney Mount

William Sidney Mount (1808-1868) was from New York, spending most of his career on Long Island. He became well known for his scenes of everyday life, in particular with themes involving music. He was the first famous American painter who stayed in America.

"DANCING ON THE BARN FLOOR" BY WILLIAM SIDNEY MOUNT 1831
"DANCING ON THE BARN FLOOR" BY WILLIAM SIDNEY MOUNT 1831

George Caleb Bingham

George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879) was from Missouri and is known as the painter of the American Western Frontier. His genre paintings were wildly popular in eastern America during his career, where many people clamored to see what the West looked like.

"FUR TRADERS DESCENDING THE MISSOURI" BY GEORGE CALEB BINGHAM 1845
"FUR TRADERS DESCENDING THE MISSOURI" BY GEORGE CALEB BINGHAM 1845

Frederic Church

Frederic Church (1826-1900) was from Connecticut and a landscape painter of the Hudson River School, where he studied under Thomas Cole. In 1859 his painting The Heart of the Andes sold for $10,000—the highest price ever paid for a work of art by an American at the time.

"TWILIGHT WILDERNESS" BY FREDERIC CHURCH 1860
"TWILIGHT WILDERNESS" BY FREDERIC CHURCH 1860

Winslow Homer

Winslow Homer (1836-1910) was from Massachusetts and America's greatest watercolorist. He first found success as a magazine illustrator in a career that would span 20 years. During the American Civil War he was a pictorial reporter. He lived in Maine, 75 feet from the ocean, the last 27 years of his life, and there became famous for his paintings of sea scenes.

"SNAP THE WHIP" BY WINSLOW HOMER 1872
"SNAP THE WHIP" BY WINSLOW HOMER 1872

Edward Lamson Henry

Edward Lamson Henry (1841-1919) was from New York City and very popular in his day as a genre painter of historical scenes from American life. He studied in Paris under Courbet with Monet and Renoir. Though not a painter of their stature, his contemporaries treated his paintings as historic reconstructions because of his great attention to detail.

"FIRST RAILROAD TRAIN" BY EDWARD LAMSON HENRY 1892
"FIRST RAILROAD TRAIN" BY EDWARD LAMSON HENRY 1892

Henry O Tanner

Henry O. Tanner (1859-1937) was the first renowned black painter. He was from Philadelphia, where he studied under Thomas Eakins. He moved to France in 1891 and lived the rest of his life there. He achieved fame primarily due to his religious paintings (his father was a pastor).

"THE BANJO LESSON" BY HENRY O. TANNER 1893
"THE BANJO LESSON" BY HENRY O. TANNER 1893

Frederic Remington

Frederic Remington (1861-1909) was from New York and is the painter of the American Old West. He also was a sculptor and writer. Remington was one of the few artists who actually traveled throughout the Old West as it was disappearing. He illustrated a book for Theodore Roosevelt as well.

"THE STAMPEDE" BY FREDERIC REMINGTON 1908
"THE STAMPEDE" BY FREDERIC REMINGTON 1908

Grant Wood

Grant Wood (1891-1942) was from Iowa and created the most iconic of all American paintings. He specialized in scenes of the rural Midwest United States and was part of the Regionalism Movement, which is Realist Modern Art. His favorite painter was Jan van Eyck.

"AMERICAN GOTHIC" BY GRANT WOOD 1930
"AMERICAN GOTHIC" BY GRANT WOOD 1930

Edwin Hopper

Edwin Hopper (1882-1967) was from New York and his favorite painter is Rembrandt. He lived most of his life in Greenwich Village, and achieved lasting fame as a Realist painter. Hopper was extremely influential to future American artists.

"NIGHTHAWKS" BY EDWIN HOPPER 1942
"NIGHTHAWKS" BY EDWIN HOPPER 1942

Andrew Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) was from Pennsylvania and a fabulously popular painter with the American Public. His father was an artist and by age 21 Wyeth was already a success as a painter of Realism, a school in opposition to Abstract Art. Though disdained by art critics, his works are displayed in the major museums of the United States.

"CHRISTINA'S WORLD" BY ANDREW WYETH 1948
"CHRISTINA'S WORLD" BY ANDREW WYETH 1948

Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) was from New York City and became one of the most famous American painters. He first achieved fame through the 321 covers he created over a period of 47 years for the magazine, Saturday Evening Post.

"GIRL WITH BLACK EYE" BY NORMAN ROCKWELL 1953
"GIRL WITH BLACK EYE" BY NORMAN ROCKWELL 1953
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