Exhibit: Inventing An American Style

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With views of nineteenth-century Cincinnati, fine examples of the American Etching Revival movement, Currier & Ives lithographs, and full-color commercial prints, the images on display show America’s desire, at the turn of the last century, to invent visual forms that express a national cultural identity. During the Gilded Age (1865-1905), the United States underwent deep social, economic, and cultural changes, and as a result grew from a rural society into a world-leading urban and industrial power. These transformations are reflected in the diversity of new artistic trends and aspirations. Colorful commercial prints proliferated, produced for a fast growing urban, entertainment-seeking class. For half a century, the popular Currier & Ives prints “held a mirror up to America” depicting genre scenes of everyday life. At the same time, American landscape painters and etchers developed a new maturity: abandoning traditional topographic and panoramic views, a more personal and suggestive vision of the American landscape emerged. Behind all these images, the recurrent theme is a glorification of American life, character, and nature.

May 10 - August 20, 2013
Joseph S. Stern, Jr. Cincinnati Room

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