John White Alexander and the Construction of National Identity: Cosmopolitan American Art, 1880-1915

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1. Mariana Van Renssalaer, “Frederick Arthur Bridgman,” in American Art and American Art Collectors, Volume I, ed. Walter Montgomery (Boston 1889), 177, quoted in Michael Quick, American Expatriate Painters in the Late Nineteenth Century (Dayton: Dayton Art Institute, 1976), 20–21.

2. Giles Edgerton [pseud. Mary Fanton Roberts], “American Art Scores a Triumph at International Exhibition of Painting in Pittsburgh,” The Craftsman 14, no. 5 (August 1908): 463.

3. Henry James, “John Singer Sargent,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 75, no. 449 (October 1887): 683.

4. Will H. Low, “National Expression in American Art,” The International Monthly 3, no. 3 (March 1901): 248.

5. See, for example, Wanda Corn, The Great American Thing: Modern Art and National Identity, 1915–1935 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999); Angela Miller, “Breaking Down the Preserves of Visual Production,” American Art 11, no. 2 (summer 1997): 11–13; Jules Prown, “The Promise and Perils of Context,” American Art 11, no. 2 (summer 1997): 20–27; and Michael Leja, “American Art’s Shifting Boundaries,” American Art 11, no. 2 (sum- mer 1997): 48–49.


1. For a consideration of the impact of foreign training on American artists and the American expatriate movement, see H. Barbara Weinberg, The Lure of Paris: Nineteenth- Century American Painters and Their French Teachers (New York: Abbeville Press, 1991): idem, “Late Nineteenth- Century Painting: Cosmopolitan Concerns and Critical Controversies,” Archives of American Art Journal 23, no. 4 (1983): 19–26; idem, “Renaissance and Renascences in American Art,” Arts Magazine 54, no. 3 (November 1983): 172–75; idem, “Nineteenth-Century American Painters at the École des Beaux-Arts,” American Art Journal 13 (autumn 1981): 66–84; and Michael Quick, American Expatriate Painters of the Late Nineteenth Century (Dayton: Dayton Art Institute, 1976). See also David C. Huntington, The Quest for Unity: American Art Between the World’s Fairs, 1876–1893 (Detroit: Detroit Institute of Arts, 1983).

2. W[illiam] C[ary] Brownell, “The Younger Painters of America: First Paper,” Scribner’s Monthly 20, no. 1 (May 1880): 8. The second and third articles in this series appeared in Scribner’s Monthly in July 1880 and July 1881. Brownell does not consider Alexander in his discussion of the younger painters but does discuss artists with whom Alexander worked in Munich including Duveneck, Chase, Shirlaw, and Currier.

3. See, for example, Cecilia Beaux’s first major work, Les Derniers Jours d’Enfance, 1883–85; Abbott Henderson Thayer’s Portrait of Bessie Stillman, 1883; Julian Alden Weir’s Against the Window, 1884, Dennis Miller Bunker’s Portrait of Anne Page, 1887, and William Merritt Chase’s Portrait of a Lady in Pink, 1888–89. For a study of the aesthetic move- ment in America, see Metropolitan Museum of Art, In Pur- suit of Beauty: Americans and the Aesthetic Movement (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987).

4. For a study of the Society of American Artists and its re- lationship to the internationalism of American art in the late nineteenth century, see Jennifer A. Martin Bienen- stock, “The Formation and Early Years of the Society of American Artists, 1887–1884” (Ph.D. diss., City University of New York, 1983).

5. The John White Alexander Papers, microfilm reels 1727– 1731, 1807, housed at the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, are the richest primary source for biographical information on Alexander. Unless otherwise noted, all biographical data is drawn from this source. If a frame number appears in brackets in the citation, it was obscured in the filming of the document and therefore indecipherable. Hereafter, all references to the John White Alexander Papers will appears as: JWA/AAA, followed by reel and frame numbers.

6. JWA/AAA, reel 1727, frame 462.

7. For a history of the role of illustration at Harper’s Magazine, see H. M. Alden, “Fifty Years of Harper’s Magazine,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 100, no. 600 (May 1900): 947–62. For a discussion of the role of Charles Parsons and the development of American illustration in an international context, see Joseph Pennell, Modern Illustration (1895; reprint, London: George Bell & Sons, 1898), 113–30. For general information on the development of the American illustrated press, see Frank Luther Mott, The History of American Magazines, 1741–1930 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1957); 2:383–405, and 3:457– 80. For a brief reference to Parsons’ work at Harper’s, see Charles Parsons: Krakatoa (Montclair: Montclair Art Museum, 1991), n.p.

8. Alexander’s first illustrations published with his byline were in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, January 1876. The illustrations of the Pittsburgh railroad uprising were pub- lished in Harper’s Weekly on 11 August 1877, pp. 624– 25, 628–29. Alexander’s illustrations for Harper’s Weekly were the subject of an exhibition in 1973. See Butler In- stitute of American Art, John White Alexander in Harper’s Weekly, 1877–1887 (Youngstown: Butler Institute of Ameri- can Art, 1973), essay by Mary Anne Goley. For a discussion of the link between these illustrations and Alexander’s


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