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American History

American Art History: Week 5 Discussion Question

As America moved from an agrarian to an industrialized culture, it was inevitable that the art of the period would reflect so radical a transformation.  With fundamental shifts in the economy came equally profound shifts in modes of living itself, and something of the invention of the urbanized society.  Then, as the departure from the farm-based environments brought with it a distance from the natural, the entire nature of mankind’s worth and being was quite literally a subject of concern, and consequently artistic expression. If the new movements of Cubism, Dadaism, and Expressionism would be increasingly employed as the 20th century advanced, so too was the technology of photography allowing for expression, rather than documentation (online lectures).  Painting, however, remained a major force, and two works in particular illustrate the divisiveness of feeling regarding the national changes, as well as conflict discernible within the artists themselves.