Amerikanischer Malkasten : American art and Düsseldorf

Placeholder Show Content


This dissertation examines the group of American painters who lived and worked in Düsseldorf, Germany, in the decades before the American Civil War. By emphasizing that such important works of art as Emanuel Leutze's "Washington Crossing the Delaware, " Richard Caton Woodville's "War News From Mexico, " and Albert Bierstadt's "Roman Fish Market, Arch of Octavius" were all produced in this small city on the Rhine, "Amerikanischer Malkasten" seeks to reframe the historiography of American art before the Civil War by arguing that the American experience in Düsseldorf was not marginal or incidental to that story, but rather essential to it. In recent years Americanists have rejected or refined narratives of American art that assert its isolated, nationalistic character in favor of ones that see American art as deeply engaged with the wider world. However, the American Civil War remains something of a dividing line for many scholars, who view the generation of artists who came to maturity in the 1840s and 1850s as essentially provincial in character, by contrast with later generations of cosmopolitans. Through in-depth case studies of Leutze, Woodville, and Bierstadt, this dissertation upends this tradition periodization in two ways. First, it shows how these individual artists engaged with a wide variety of transatlantic thought, including theatrical meolodrama; the interrelated discourses of "Bildung" and Self-Culture; and the marketing o the Wild West, in particular its American Indian inhabitants. Second, and most importantly, it articulates a vision of American art before the Civil War that emphasizes not only its cosmopolitanism, but also the ways in which these and other artists were possessed of an essentially outward-facing and communal ethos, which I contrast with the more idiosyncratic and personal vision favored by later generations. Ultimately, "Amerikanischer Malkasten" redefines both the history of American art of the antebellum period and how historians of American art conceive of--and speakabout--that history.


Type of resource text
Form electronic; electronic resource; remote
Extent 1 online resource.
Publication date 2016
Issuance monographic
Language English


Associated with Hamming, Grant Wesley
Associated with Stanford University, Department of Art and Art History.
Primary advisor Wolf, Bryan, 1960-
Thesis advisor Wolf, Bryan, 1960-
Thesis advisor Meyer, Richard
Thesis advisor Nemerov, Alexander
Thesis advisor Winterer, Caroline, 1966-
Advisor Meyer, Richard
Advisor Nemerov, Alexander
Advisor Winterer, Caroline, 1966-


Genre Theses

Bibliographic information

Statement of responsibility Grant Wesley Hamming.
Note Submitted to the Department of Art and Art History.
Thesis Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2016.
Location electronic resource

Access conditions

© 2016 by Grant Wesley Hamming
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).

Also listed in

Loading usage metrics...