American Art at the Nineteenth-Century Paris Salons

Lois Marie Fink, Author Cambridge University Press $80 (454p) ISBN 978-0-521-38499-5
For American artists, participation in the Parisian Salons, annual exhibitions sanctioned by the Paris establishment, was a ticket to social acceptance and commercial potential. There John Singer Sargent found a receptive audience for his full-length portraits, initially mocked by Americans. Mary Cassatt first came to the attention of Degas at the Salon of 1874; conservative artists such as Childe Hassam adapted impressionist techniques observed in works hung at the Salon. Publicity hounds like James Whistler reaped the rewards of notoriety from both acceptance and rejection of their paintings, exhibited along with the work of Benjamin West, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, George Catlin, Thomas Eakins and William Merritt Chase. In this richly illustrated study, Fink, a curator at the National Museum of American Art, looks at cross-cultural influences and jockeying for prestige among Americans abroad who forged a strong figurative tradition. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1990
Release date: 07/01/1990
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