TRENCH, CAROLYN J
This course covers the history of American art from the close of the Civil War to the present moment, with a focus on the rich collections of American art available in Philadelphia. Held at the Barnes Foundation, this course will offer students the opportunity to see the breadth of Philadelphia’s American collections in person. Each week, we will make at least one visit to the Barnes collection, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, or the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. We will discuss many key Philadelphia masterpieces, including Thomas Eakins’ Portrait of Dr. Samuel D. Gross (The Gross Clinic), (1875, at PAFA), Henry Ossawa Tanner’s The Annunciation (1898, at the PMA), and the large volume of paintings by Charles Demuth held at the Barnes. We will also use lectures, readings, and discussions to examine how this art reflected and influenced key social, political, and cultural upheavals of the last 150 years in the United States, including changes in race relations, the role of women, the status of immigrant populations, industrialization, and international relations. Broad themes will include the evolving definition of “American art" and the developing narrative of American art history. Assignments will give students the chance to develop their own art historical voice through visual analysis and research.