american colonial art
pre-civil-war american art
post-civil-war american art


Gallery of
Modern American Art

1600 to 1900


America, it is suggested by the anthropological evidence, was invaded and settled by a people who became the American Indians about 100c BC. A later wave of European immigration, which had its beginning in 1492 has transformed the new world into a modern European society mixed with a fronteer over confidence that engenders isolationism and independence.

Americans see their roots in England, that is who the Americans fought in the Revolutionary War. But actually, the Spanish were in North America long before the English. Spain at one point governed about half the total area of what is now the United States. The oldest European settlement in the United States is Spanish and in Flordia, dating back to 1565. The Lousiana purchase was made from the French which fully doubled the size of the country. And Alaska was purchased from Russians and it's bigger than Texas.

American art needs to be understood on it's own. Yes, early art (and even much later art) was derived from European art, but the isolation of North America meant that until the late 20th century communication was slow and styles in America lagged generations behind Europe. Besides the isolation of America meant that the public judged art not by European standards but by their own standards, which were largely conservative, based on older well known and accepted art values.

For these reasons this museum has separated New World Art from European art. Because of the strong bonding to England as a source of inspiration the English art has also been segregated into it's own galleries. This does not follow the standard art textbook classifications, which merge the pictures produced in England and the New World into the standard art development.

The American Art of this early period has been broken into three sections. The two-hundred years before the Revolutionary war, called American Colonial Art. The seventy-five year period after the revolution to the civil war, called American pre-Civil-War Art. And finally the fifty year period from the end of the Civil-War to the start of the twentieth century. Artists don't fall neatly into periods between wars. So some assignment of artists to periods is purely arbitrary, and done more by style and subject rather than dates.


American Colonial Art



Copley: Paul Revere
Paul Revere


Visit the American Colonial Art Gallery.


American Pre-Civil War Art


Bingham: Fur Traders on the Missuri
Fur Traders on the Missouri


Sully: Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson


Inness: Coming Storm
Coming Storm 


Visit the Pre-Civil War Art Gallery



American Post-Civil War Art



Bierstadt: Westward Ho
Westward Ho


Eakins: Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman


Homer: The Rapids
The Rapids


Visit the Post-Civil War Art Gallery


american colonial art
pre-civil-war american art
post-civil-war american art