Benjamin West (1738-1820) of Pennsylvania was the first painter to immortalize the martyrdom of a secular hero in art (see the neoclassical painting below). A close friend of Benjamin Franklin, he became the first American painter to appear in Europe, where he caused a sensation.
He stopped in London in 1763 and stayed there, becoming one of the founders of the Royal Academy. Benjamin West was self-taught, but later in life became an influential art teacher.
John Trumbull (1756-1843) of Connecticut was a one-eyed son of the governor who produced many well-known historical paintings.
Four of his paintings hang in the United States Capitol, including the one below, which was also used on the U.S. two-dollar bill.
Thomas Cole (1801-1848) founded the Hudson River School, an art movement that featured romantic, natural portrayals of American landscapes.
Thomas Cole lived the majority of his adult life in Catskill, New York, where a nearby mountain is named after him. He was also a poet and architect.
George Inness (1825-1894) was from New York and New Jersey. He was a landscape painter who helped define tonalism as the leader of what is known as the American Barbizon School.
George Inness was a deeply religious man, who used light and color to convey his spiritual vision through his art.
Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) of Philadelphia may be the most important realist painter in American history. He was also an art teacher, sculptor, and photographer.
Thomas Eakins created a new cosmopolitanism in American Art, as the country itself became more urban and sophisticated.
John Singer Sargent
John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) was the leading portrait painter of his day, and left behind 3,000 pieces of original artwork. John Singer Sargent traveled the world extensively as a child and as an adult.
One of his paintings recently sold for over twenty million dollars.
George Bellows (1882-1925) is the leading representative of what is called the Ash Can School of realism. His paintings have a disturbing rawness, and they focus on the teeming drama of life in the city.
George Bellows lived the first half of his life in Ohio, and the second half in Manhattan. One of his paintings sold recently for thirty million dollars.
Ivan Albright (1897-1983) of Chicago is a painter of magic realism. His dark, mysterious paintings are among the most meticulous ever made—some taking years to complete.
Ivan Albright focused on life, death, and the spirit world. His art is nothing if not original.
Doris Lee (1905-1983) of Illinois was a folk artist and an art teacher. She studied in France, Italy and California.
Doris Lee was also an illustrator for books and magazines. She later lived in Woodstock, New York; and maintained a studio in Manhattan.
Archibald Motley (1891-1981) of Chicago was the first African-American artist to have a one-man exhibit in New York City.
Heavily influenced by the jazz music scene, Archibald Motley painted African-Americans doing the same things white people enjoyed doing: including here, having a good time out on the town.
Harry Anderson (1906-1996) of Chicago worked extensively creating art for prominent magazines before he became a renowned painter of Christian themes.
Harry Anderson worked for both the Seventh Day Adventist Church and the Church of Latter Day Saints.
Grandma Moses (1860-1961) of New York is a renowned American folk artist who became a painter in her seventies, after arthritis forced her to give up her career in embroidery.
Grandma Moses painted what was called primitive art, but one of her paintings hangs in the White House and another sold for a million dollars.
Arnold Friberg (b. 1913) grew up in Arizona and currently resides in Salt Lake City. He first achieved fame for the 300 paintings he created of the Canadian Mounties. Arnold Friberg drew maps for the U.S. Army while serving at the front during WWII; worked in Hollywood for Cecil B. DeMille; and created a series of paintings based on the Book of Mormon.
Audrey Flack (b. 1931) of New York is a photorealist painter and a sculptor.
The art of Audrey Flack is created from a feminist perspective.
The painting below is an extended allegory that represents passion, the brevity of life, and the transience of beauty.