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Encouraging American Genius

Encouraging American Genius: Master Painting from the Corcoran Gallery of Art

October 7 - December 31, 2006

The Mint Museum of Art


This exhibition, organized and circulated by the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C, features 74 works representing the best of colonial and federal portraiture, 19th century landscape and genre painting, and early 20th century realism. Notable artists included in the exhibition are Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent, Edward Hopper, Thomas Eakins, George Bellows, Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt, John Sloan, Frederic Church, and Childe Hassam.


Online and Print Resources

The Encouraging American Genius show can be roughly broken down into chronological time periods. In order to facilitate your learning and research, print resources available in the Mint Museum Library and related websites have also been sorted, following the outline of the show.


General Resources

  • Heartney, Eleanor. A Capital Collection:  Masterworks from the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Third Millennium Publishing, 2002. An extensive guide to the collection of the Corcoran Gallery, much of which is represented in the exhibition. An excellent broad guide to the art and artists to be represented in the show.


  • Craven, Wayne. American Art: History and Culture. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc, 1994.



  • The Making of America is a comprehensive site focusing on social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The site includes articles and journal entries and has an easy-to-use search feature.


  • The Mint Museums Library also has copies of the Educator's Pack, a resource dedicated to providing educators with tools to frame art in its historical context, and to use art as an insight into historical periods.


Birth of a Nation - American Art of the Colonial and Federal Periods


Gilbert Stuart

(North Kingston, R.I. 1755 - 1828 Boston, Mass.)

George Washington, after 1796



  • American Journeys So much of Early American painting was created to document the seemingly ever-present push beyond the frontier. American Journeys offers primary source material and images relating to those who made such journeys and inspired so many artists. Journals from Lewis and Clark are just one of the highlights.


  • Evans, Dorinda. Benjamin West and his American Students. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1980. Published for the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C


Natural Wonders - The Dawn of American Landscape Painting


  • The Hudson River School Dedicated to the prolific landscape painting school, this website provides biographies of artists associated with the school with examples of their work. A general history of the school is provided, which is quintessential of the time period. A list of museums and galleries that feature some of the artists is also included.


Pictures of the People - The Rise of American Genre Painting


William Sidney Mount

(Setauket, N.Y. 1807 - 1868 Setauket, N.Y.)

The Tough Story - Scene in a Country Tavern, 1837


  • Frank Blackwell Mayer's diary and sketchbook provides a look into the artist's view on the internal divisions of the nation throughout the years leading up the Civil War. Although this site is not the most user-friendly, the primary source material is fantastic.


  • Seth Eastman was one of the genre painters that investigated and participated in the westward expansion. This website offers a biography and gallery of Eastman's works, as well as links to other online resources.


Broadening Horizons - Later Nineteenth-Century Landscape Painting


Frederic Edwin Church

(Hartford, Conn. 1826 - 1900 New York, N.Y.)

Niagra, 1857


  • This New York Times review of an exhibition of Frederic Edwin Church's art from his estate, Olana, may not be the best site for historical information about the artist, but there is an impressive multimedia component that makes a visit worthwhile.


Post-Civil War Pluralism - Later Nineteenth-Century Genre and Still-Life Painting


Thomas Eakins

(Philadelphia, Pa. 1844 - 1916 Philadelphia, Pa.)

Singing a Pathetic Song, 1881


  • By providing a detailed biography and an extensive image gallery that includes images from Thomas Eakins's life, this PBS site becomes a valuable resource on the famed portrait painter.



  • Goodrich, Lloyd. Thomas Eakins. London: Harvard University Press, 1982. Published for the National Gallery of Arts, Washington, D.C.


  • Hendricks, Gordon. The Life and Work of Thomas Eakins. New York: Grossman Publishing, 1974.


  • Sewell, Darrel. Thomas Eakins. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2001. Catalog of the exhibit on Thomas Eakins featured in the Philadelphia Museum of Art from October 4, 2001 - January 6, 2002.


  • Lucie-Smith, Edward. American Realism. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd, 1994.


Cultural Crosscurrents - American Impressionism and Expatriate Painters


  • Childe Hassam was a leader in the American Impressionism movement and this Metropolitan Museum website is a well designed resource on the artist.


The Gilded Cage - Images of Women, 1875 - 1925


John Singer Sargent

(Florence, Italy 1856 - 1925 London, England)

Maire Buloz Pailleron (Madame Edourad Pailleron), 1879


  • John Singer Sargent is considered an American Impressionist and he often painted women, placing them in personal, identifiable environments. Each painting featured on this website also includes an essay on the work and additional images of the studies and work-ups of the subject.


  • Mary Cassatt represents the era symbolized in art by the women of the leisure class and also is one of the most prolific of the American Impressionists. This site explores the life, times and work of Cassatt and is tremendously helpful.


Art for a New Century - The Eight and Fourteenth Street School


George Wesley Bellows

(Columbus, Ohio 1882 - 1925 New York, N.Y.)

Forty-two Kids, 1907




Between the Wars - The Emergence of American Modernism


Marsden Hartley

(Lewiston, Maine 1877 - 1943 Ellsworth, Maine)

Berlin Abstraction, 1914-15


  • The Armory Show held in New York City in 1913 gave the United States and American artists their first taste of the avant-garde styles developing in Europe, influencing American Modernism. This site not only includes discussion of many of the works included in the show itself, but also has essays and information tracing the impact of the show on American art.


  • The Smithsonian American Art Museum presents a scrapbook of photographs, letters and other images that represent Edward Hopper's life and work.


  • Berkow, Ita, G. Edward Hopper: A Modern Master. Todtri Book Publishers, 1999.


Don't Forget to Visit!

All of the books listed above are available in the Mint Museums Library, but the resources we can provided don't stop there. Additional books and other print resources are also available. Make an appointment to stop by and take advantage of them today!




Page created by Janie Buckley, intern, for the Mint Museum.