Synopses & Reviews
This volume chronicles the development of printmaking in America through the first half of the twentieth century. During this period of dramatic social and cultural change, printmaking served artists as a cost-effective means of communicating their observations and ideas. Woodcuts, etchings, and lithographsand#151;many illustrated hereand#151;by artists such as Thomas Hart Benton, Childe Hassam, Edward Hopper, John Sloan, and Grant Wood addressed a variety of themes, including urbanization, small-town life, the Great Depression, the California landscape, and the two World Wars. The skyscraper, for instance, became a prime subject, admired for its roots in American architecture as well as its associations with national power. Prints frequently portrayed the city's inhabitants, often in crowded spaces where the distinctions between public and private life might become uncomfortably blurred. Depictions of the Depression of the 1930s suggest pessimism about the prospects for social justice in a capitalistic economy. Other prints demonstrate a heroic conception of industry and an idealized view of life in the nation's agrarian heartland.
About the Author
Jessica Todd Smith is the Virginia Steele Scott Curator of American Art at the Huntington. Kevin M. Murphy is the Huntington's Bradford and Christine Mishler Curatorial Fellow in American Art.