The art and life of Solomon Nunes Carvalho, one of the first American-born Jewish artists, speak to the extraordinary and unaccustomed degree of freedom available to Jews in antebellum America. His eleven paintings and photographs on view in By Dawn’s Early Light serve as a lens into the exhibition and into the period, a time of exceptional experimentation and change for American Jews.
The American Arts and Crafts movement emerged full force in the years before and after 1900, at a time when diametrically opposed views of the future clashed. Many Americans believed in the power of the machine, the growth of capitalism, and the heroicization of rich captains of industry. Others, by contrast, idealistically looked back to an earlier age thought to be more ethical and religious, when communal interests prevailed, and all that was good was made by hand. This visionary, utopian movement could be found across the Northeast and the Midwest, but it also took root in the South and West. The handicraft shops established at the H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College in New Orleans, Louisiana, were an integral part of the movement and are the subject of Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise, an exhibition featuring the exceptional ceramics for which Newcomb Pottery became best known as well as less familiar textiles, metalwork, jewelry, graphic arts, and bookbinding.
The Museum has acquired an important early work by the renowned African American artist Elizabeth Catlett (1915–2012), the fruit of a collaboration with Princeton University’s Department of Art and Archaeology that continues to strengthen Princeton’s art collections.
A recent acquisition, Ship in Fog, Gloucester Harbor by Fitz Henry Lane, is an archetype of Luminism, a style characterized by a preoccupation with light and atmosphere that flourished among a group of American painters between 1850 and 1875.
This summer, the Art Museum presents its first-ever exhibition devoted solely to American watercolors. Painting on Paper comprises highlights from the Museum’s rich collection, supplemented by loans from the University’s Graphic Arts, Rare Books and Manuscripts, and Western Americana collections housed in Firestone Library and from several alumni and patrons.
What can an eighteenth-century Chippendale chest, a pre-Civil War genre painting, a Gilded Age group portrait, and a twentieth-century photograph of lichen-covered rock tell us about our evolving modes of environmental perception and ecological thought? During the fall of 2014, Princeton students considered such works and questions in an interdisciplinary humanities course called “Nature’s Nation Revisited: An Ecocritical History of American Art,” taught by Alan C. Braddock, Belknap Visiting Faculty Fellow from the College of William and Mary, and Karl Kusserow, the Museum’s John Wilmerding Curator of American Art.
In this video, Karl Kusserow, the John Wilmerding Curator of American Art at the Princeton University Art Museum, explains the unique history of a pair of George Washington portraits and the connections they have to both Princeton and American history.
Picturing Power: Capitalism, Democracy, and American Portraiture gathers together fifty-one of the best portraits from the now-dispersed New York Chamber of Commerce collection in a dense, Salon-style installation evoking their former majestic display at the the group's building near Wall Street.