Timeline

De Whistler a Cassatt guía de accesibilidad

Upon returning to the United States, many of the artists in this exhibition were criticized for bringing home art and influences that were not “American.” The question of identity, however, encompassed more than aesthetic quibbles and the term embodied more than a single idea, people, and place. Frederick Douglass, who escaped slavery and became an activist writer, declared that we are a “composite nation.” Which individuals and events, in fact, make up the story of our nation?

Follow this timeline highlighting the dynamic changes Americans experienced between the mid-1800s and early 1900s.

115. Overture to Modernism: Timeline—United States of America, 1855–1913

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Narrator: Around the turn of the 20th century, disapproval of American artists steeped in French training, emerged. There was a feeling that American art should speak to American themes and individuality. It should look American. This timeline includes some of the historical events shaping the US during this time.

We’ve seen how these artists, adapting to audiences attuned to a more nationalist sensibility – painted views of glorious American landscapes and well-heeled families in sun-dappled gardens and seafront estates. And yet, they didn’t turn their backs on the experiences that had shaped them.

The process of encountering, absorbing, interrogating and adapting one’s influences is still very much on artists’ minds today. As is the question of how you’re understood as an artist – just as it was for The Ten. Here’s Ron Hicks:

Hicks: The artistic path is full of discoveries. Sometimes there are artists that can go through their entire career and do one thing. But then you have other artists where their purpose is to absorb information and take things in and spit it out, ask questions about it. I may be in a different position six months or a year from now, and I welcome that.

Of course there are some communities that may be somewhat marginalized, but I'm glad to see a lot of the museums and some of the galleries, moving towards including a diverse group of people into the limelight, which I think is long overdue.

United States of America 1855–1913

 

James McNeill Whistler goes to Paris for art training

 
Painting of indigenous peoples preparing for war.
White Swan (Apsáalooke (Crow)), Pictograph War Record, about 1890. Denver Art Museum: Native Arts Acquisition funds, 1968.336

Indigenous communities counter U.S. military campaigns intended to displace them from their land.

 
Black and white photograph of the interior of a crowded immigration reception facility.
Great Hall, Ellis Island, New York, 1907. From the New York Public LIbrary. Gado Image/Alamy Stock Photo.

14 million Asian and European immigrants arrive, transforming the U.S.

 

American Civil War

 
A depiction of one scene at Sand Creek by witness Howling Wolf
A depiction of one scene at Sand Creek by witness Howling Wolf. Howling Wolf, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Sand Creek massacre occurs at a peaceful camp of Cheyenne and Arapaho peoples at the hands of the Colorado Territory militia

 

The first two U.S. women artists exhibit in the Salon in Paris—Mary Cassatt and Elizabeth Jane Gardner

 

The first transcontinental railroad is completed in Utah, with a workforce of 90% Chinese immigrants on the Central Pacific Line

 
Wood engraving of the Met Museum's opening reception
Wood engraving of the Museum's opening reception published in Frank Leslie's Weekly, March 9, 1872. Public Domain via Wikimedia commons.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art opens in New York City

 
Impressionistic painting of a waterway at sunrise.
Claude Monet, Impression, Sunrise, 1872. PRISMA ARCHIVO/Alamy Stock Photo

Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet, shown at the Salon of 1874, leads to the term Impressionism

 

Colorado becomes the 38th state

 

France commemorates its alliance with the U.S. with its gift of the Statue of Liberty

 

U.S. Supreme Court decides Plessy v. Ferguson, leading to “separate but equal” civil rights and decades of oppressive “Jim Crow” laws

 

First exhibition of The Ten in New York City

 
Interior view of the Armory Show exhibition
Interior view of the Armory Show exhibition, New York City, 1913. Bridgeman Images.

Armory Show introduces European modernism to Americans

For Art and Joy go together…

—James McNeill Whistler

Of course, it is well to go abroad and see the works of the old masters, but Americans… must strike out of themselves, and only by doing this will we create a great and distinctly American art.

—Thomas Eakins

I have touched with a sense of art some people—they felt the love and the life. Can you offer me anything to compare to that joy for an artist?

—Mary Cassatt

You can't do sketches enough. Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh.

—John Singer Sargent

I decided on the spot that I would be an artist, and I assure you, it was no ordinary artist I had in mind.

—Henry Ossawa Tanner

Whistler to Cassatt: American Painters in France is organized by the Denver Art Museum. The exhibition is supported by the Tom Taplin Jr. and Ted Taplin Endowment, the Kristin and Charles Lohmiller Exhibitions Fund, the Wyeth Foundation for American Art, Kathie and Keith Finger, Lisë Gander and Andy Main, Lauren and Geoff Smart, Christie’s, the French American Museum Exchange (FRAME), the generous donors to the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign, and the residents who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Promotional support is provided by 5280 Magazine and CBS4.