American Painting and the Systems of World Ornament
Access StatusFull text of the requested work is not available in DASH at this time ("dark deposit"). For more information on dark deposits, see our FAQ.
MetadataShow full item record
CitationPfohl, Katie A. 2014. American Painting and the Systems of World Ornament. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractThis dissertation examines the work of nineteenth-century American painters Frederic Edwin Church, William Michael Harnett and Albert Pinkham Ryder, and focuses on the relationship between their work in painting and their work in the decorative arts. Through their decorative work, all three artists explored "systems of world ornament" that introduced them to an international range of ornamental form by compiling, cataloguing, and comparing ornament from nearly all cultures and eras. Combining all of world culture single folios, these "systems of world ornament" promised to help American artists and designers study and sort a wide range of cultural influences into temporal and geographic order and thus make sense of the increasingly internationalized nature of American material culture. As this dissertation argues, the study of these "systems of world ornament" became for American artists and designers a powerful--if problematic--tool for distilling the increasingly international nature of American art and culture into a material form--and a formal painterly language--that opened it up to comment and critique. Ornament has to a large extent been understood as a mode of retreat rather than engagement with the clean lines and streamlined aesthetic of the twentieth-century, a crust that had to be cleared from painting's surface so that it might embrace the revolutionary potential of the technological and artistic innovations of the twentieth-century, but this dissertation argues the opposite--that ornament crucially informed American painters' attempts to update painting in response to the artistic challenges of increasingly internationalized twentieth-century life.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:12274547
- FAS Theses and Dissertations