NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Methods and Careers of Leading American Painters in the late Nineteenth Century

David W. Galenson

NBER Working Paper No. 11545
Issued in August 2005
NBER Program(s):   LS   PR

Although American painters of the late nineteenth century were much less influential than their European counterparts, the methods and careers of the leading American artists of the period reflect the same division between visual and conceptual approaches that characterized French art. The conceptual painters Thomas Eakins and John Singer Sargent matured early, and made individual landmark paintings, whereas the experimentalists Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, Albert Pinkham Ryder, and James McNeill Whistler developed more slowly, and made their contributions gradually in larger bodies of work. These American artists were less innovative than their French contemporaries, but they created approaches to art no less considered than those of their more famous counterparts.

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