Progressive Restraint: Art Writing and Criticism in Harper’s Monthly 1867-1890.

Jackson, Alexander (2015) Progressive Restraint: Art Writing and Criticism in Harper’s Monthly 1867-1890. Masters thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis is interested in understanding the relationship between American art’s development in the nineteenth-century and the public’s perception and understanding of the visual arts. The subject of this thesis is the art writing which appeared in Harper’s Monthly magazine between 1867 and 1890. I have analysed data recorded from a corpus of two-hundred and seventy-six issues of the magazine, which was the most widely read general interest magazine in America during the nineteenth-century. I have used this analysis to inform my subsequent study into specific topics and authors of interest. I have approached this material in relation to the historically significant concept of social progress. I have explained how this pervasive ideology helped to shape the content of the magazine’s coverage of the visual arts.
My first chapter examines the writing which sought to educate the public with regard to art-history. Knowledge of art’s history allowed the magazine to frame recent changes in American art in a familiar narrative context, which was accessible and appealing to the readership.
My second chapter describes how various articles supported the institutions of the American art-world in the post-bellum era. It also briefly considers how the firm’s illustration department made it a new type of institution within the American art-world.
My final chapter considers the different voices offering opinion and critique on the visual arts which started to appear in the magazine from the late 1870s. These voices were deliberately selected to be consistent with the magazine’s character, which had been carefully developed during the previous decades. The individual voices of critics and artists became increasingly prominent in the magazine, and their progressive, yet restrained message was a significant gesture of support for the changes which were taking place in the American art-world. These changes saw American art become increasingly individualistic and cosmopolitan.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Users 7376 not found.
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2016 11:00
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2016 11:00

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