Metropolitan Museum of Art opens The Civil War and American Art Exhibition

. May 27, 2013

The Metropolitan Museum of Art presents The Civil War and American Art, an exhibition on view from May 27, that will consider how American artists responded to the Civil War and its aftermath.

Eastman Johnson, The Girl I Left Behind Me, 1870-1875, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase made possible in part by Mrs. Alexander Hamilton Rice in memory of her husband and by Ralph Cross Johnson.

Eastman Johnson, The Girl I Left Behind Me, 1870-1875, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase made possible in part by Mrs. Alexander Hamilton Rice in memory of her husband and by Ralph Cross Johnson.

Landscapes and genre scenes—more than traditional history paintings—captured the war’s impact on the American psyche. The exhibition traces the trajectory of the conflict: unease as war became inevitable, optimism that a single battle might end the struggle, growing realization that fighting would be prolonged, enthusiasm and worries alike surrounding emancipation, and concerns about how to reunify the nation after a period of grievous division. The exhibition proposes significant new readings of many familiar masterworks—some 60 paintings and 18 photographs created between 1852 and 1877—including landscapes by Frederic Edwin Church and Sanford Robinson Gifford, paintings of life on the battlefront and the home front by Winslow Homer and Eastman Johnson, and photographs by Timothy H. O’Sullivan and George N. Barnard.

Organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the presentation at the Metropolitan coincides with the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863), the turning point in the war.

Category: Art Culture

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