In the 1840s the works of George Catlin, Seth Eastman, and John Mix Stanley captivated East Coast audiences. These artists played up to their audiences, who relished Indians and trappers as peculiarly exotic, by favoring especially colorful and dramatic subjects. Their impact on other artists was enormous because they carefully recorded the peoples they met.

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The early artists in this time period could not resist the temptation to use paintings to tell dramatic stories about their encounters with native peoples and the vast, strange landscape of mountains and plains. This continued for generations, but by the 1850s, photography was used to narrate the nation's development and its native peoples. These storytelling painters and photographers shaped artists' views of the West for years to come.

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In the years before and after World War I, many artists strived for modern, totally original American art forms. These modernists continually experimented and concentrated on finding forms that best reflected their feelings.

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By the mid-twentieth century, personal expression had become the goal for many artists. These artists called upon viewers to expand their own visual and emotional knowledge.

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Slide sets of all images featured in this resource may be checked out or purchased from the Amon Carter Museum’s Teaching Resource Center (TRC). Also available for checkout are eight-by-ten inch transparencies of some of the works. To order e-mail: TRC@cartermuseum.org.

 

 
 
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