In the early part of the nineteenth century, during the first decades of nationhood, American artists participated in the project of forging an American identity with depictions of everyday life painted in a realist style. Artists also looked to nature and the grandeur of the American landscape, which would become an important theme for painting throughout the nineteenth century.
After the Civil War, American art became cosmopolitan as artists traveled and studied in Europe. The late nineteenth century is marked by a pluralism of artistic styles and subjects; artists brought back the latest trends in European art and adapted them to the needs of their American audiences.
Martin Johnson Heade
Cattleya Orchid, Two Hummingbirds and a Beetle
Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait
The Life of a Hunter: A Tight Fix