North American Artists Illustrating Boys' Fashions



Figure 1.--Winslow Homer is one of the great American artists. He provides wonderful glimses of 19th century life, including several which depict children. Homer was intrigued with the early work of the French Impressionists. Here he is expeimnting with light and color. His first serious use of watercolor was probably the result of an important exhibition in New York (1873). It was during a summer in Gloucester, Massachusetts, that he produced a series of small watercolors depicting children playing. 'Boys and kitten' is one of those paintings.

North America primarily means America and Canada. Mexico is of course part of North Anmerica, but for cultural reasons seems better to include with the rest of Latin America. Most of the artistic output of North Americ has come from the United States. Both the population and economic power explain this. The United Sttes of course compared to Europe has a very recent art history. Here some of the most valuable work was done by primitive or naive artists in the late-17th and early-mid 19th century. This of course was before the advent of photography and thus our primary soirce of fashion indormation. These artists while their perspective was often weak did provide very detailed reproductions of clothing in their portaits which is of emense value in assessing historical fashion trends. Of course the greatest American portratist has to be John Singer Sargent, but unfortunately he painted only a small number of children. We know next to nothing about Canadian art at this time.

Canada

We know nothing about Canadian art at this time. There seem to be very few notable Canadian artists. The country's smll population may be a factor here. Hopefully our Canadian readers will provide us some insights.

United States

America of course has a very recent art history. The colonial history represents nerly half of the history of the United States, but the colonial art is limited. The first settlements in the originl 13 colonies were planted by the English (early-17th century). Most of the colonial art was done by primitive or naive artists. These primitive artistsa while their perspective was often weak often did provide very detailed reproductions of clothing in their portaits which is of emense value in assessing historical fashion trends. A few Eurooean trained artists added to the colonial art history. Many mericn artists during the early Republican period, like Thomas Sully wre European born. As major cities founded art schools and Ameeicns traveled to Europe to study art we get more and more professionl work (early-19th century). And by mid-century we begin to get a sibstantial body of art on the European standard. Wibslow Homer painted several importnt studies with children. Perhaps the American artist most associated with children is Mary Cassat, but her work was mostly babies and toddlers, and some older girls. Of course the greatest American portratist has to be John Singer Seargent, but unfortunately he painted only a small number of children. Many more artists havevmade important contributions. We rther amire the work of impressuonist Edward Henry Potthast. The emergenc of americcan art occurred at about the same time that photography was created. Many more artists worked in the 20th century. Modern atrtists are, however, less interested in realistic depiction, making them less useful for HBC, but of course with the wealth of photographic images, art is less important as a source of fashion information.







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Created: 6:55 PM 11/26/2017
Last updated: 6:55 PM 11/26/2017