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The Influence Of French Art On American Art

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Published: Wed, 03 May 2017

French Influence can be dated back to many years. Caves were some of the first types of French art known. Different types of art had occurred during prehistoric times. After these time periods came, times known as the Medieval Period, the Renaissance , the Baroque Period, Impressionism, and more of the 19th and 20th century, were next in history. Many American artists were going to France to enjoy other people like them. This can be defined as the Impressionism, which started in mid 19th century. Many from around the world and different types of cultures, would gather and be known as the Impressionists. This was a beginning for many artist to start communicating with others and explore something new. They would share ideas they had and basically teach others their ways of thinking. Many artists “were eager to replicate their experience”. This meant they just wanted to show off their artistic ways of thinking and let others know of their work. France was one of the many countries that made art a major part of their life and became well known for their works of art. France was well known and influenced by many others. The population in France in the late 1900’s was nearly 55.5 million. Paris was its capital and an important place for art. Art, literature, architecture, philosophy were some of the main subjects studied by many. Most of its population were also Roman Catholic, which can also influence the style of an artist. Gothic art and architecture began in France, which kept evolving throughout time periods from before the Renaissance and after. Clearly, art in France was important in a French person’s culture. All around the world, artist were beginning to be recognized and be influenced by another artist’s work of art. American art was one of the many countries where art was also beginning to be major. Migration to America led to new ideas from different type of people and influences that affected us all. Asian, African, Polish, French, and many others, were brought upon America with their different ways of life and culture. Dating back many years back, until now, French art did have a major influence on American Art. There are many reasons and beliefs on how some of the American art could have been influenced, but French art plays a significant role.

Impressionism was a major movement in the 19th century. It marked the beginning of the movement of art in Paris, France. This was a time period where many artists from Paris began sharing and moving their ideas of art. There were many different artists that had different techniques and styles for making paintings. Each one had different views that they wanted to express and show others. Jean Frederick Bazille was a well-known artist that started sharing with two other painters. These two others were Alfred Sisley and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The Impressionism obtained its name from an Artist’s work of art called “Impression Sunrise”. The artist’s name had been Claude Monet, and lived from November 1840 to December 1926, at age eighty six. Impressionism developed a new style for artists to approach. Many of the paintings done were more of the outer world and less from a person’s inside of a home. Monet’s work of art expressed more of the outside world, like ” Poppies Blooming, Seine Basin with Argenteuil, Lavacourt: Sunshine and Snow,” and more paintings. This is also one reason why the Impressionism got its name. Most of the impressionistic art was very much alike Claude Monet’s work. Impressionism led to many influences to many different countries in the world. Soon enough there were other artist that came up with new ways of art. Controversy led them to want to change and find something new in their art. Many more started to experiment different tools and techniques to make something better of the visual arts. Impressionism no longer existed after 1894 because of many other movements emerging with their own ideas and styles. Impressionism was later called Neo-Impressionism, using the same basic theme and colors. Impressionism was mostly made up of France. It left much influence to many artists in the world, including the artist’s from America.

How would someone explain what art really is? Art can be a variety of things. Alexander Nehamas, Edmund N. Carpenter II Class of 1943 Professor in the Humanities, Princeton University, mentions: “An old conception of art is that it was supposed to be beautiful or represent something.” Another definition for art can be, as stated in an online dictionary, “a superior skill that you can learn by study and practice and observation”. Sculptures, paintings, architecture, drawings, nature, colors, and so on can be examples of art. A child will begin to grow and become influenced by others of an older age. We can compare this thought with America and France. In the early history, America was still young and most of Europe was exploring newer things in life. America was beginning to grow and become independent. France and many other European countries were like older people to America, influencing them in different aspects. Art was always important for most of Europe and France. Young America was beginning to become noticed for its art skills. Sculptures, paintings, drawings, and everything else that include the definition of art, was also becoming to be a part of America. Art indeed, was part of a culture for many. Art enlightened and illuminated many different cultures. Art today is different from art in the past. History can be explained through paintings, sculptures, architecture, and many more. There was always art present in royal places, clothing, buildings, vehicles, carvings, and so much more in history. The influence of art to something else, will always involve so many things in life.

France was a place where a great deal of art originated. France has been an influence to Europe and the world, showing great power in its culture, politics, military, and much more. Its capital is Paris. Art led to the discovery of how old France has been. The painting of a horse in the Lascaux caves gave an approximate age of one million eight hundred million years ago. Gothic art and architecture were movements that began in France and lasted for many years. France was very advanced in the study of visual arts and contributed a great deal to many others. France was very powerful during many periods of times but had a major loss during the World War I and World War II. During these times, France had been a part of the Triple Entente. France had gone to war with many of its European neighbors and lost a great deal of its economy, military, people, and hope. During the first World War, France lost 1.4 million people, leaving them in very bad conditions. The Treaty of Versailles had kept them alive for a short period but feared Germany. France had seeked help from the US and Great Britain. France had also good agriculture, where it was well known for its dairy, wine, wheat, poultry, and more. Paris is a very famous place where one can visit many historical sites like the Palace of Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, Mont Saint-Michel, Notre Dame, and many more. Paris also includes many museums where many historical paintings, sculptures, etc. are held to show. At least one-fifth of the total population come from Paris. Also, at least half of the population in France are believed to be Roman Catholic and another great deal are atheists. There were many different time periods where major art movements occurred. Cave paintings were some of the first paintings, which had been around 16,000 B.C. After came to be none as the Celtic and Roman periods, then The Medieval Period: Carolingian art, Merovingian art, Romanesque art, and also included Gothic art. After this was basically the Renaissance and 19th century. France has clearly had a great amount of historical events that make it an important location to the world.

American art started during the late 18th century and had started with paintings of government like pictures. There were many paintings and portraits of the presidents, like George Washington. Gilbert Stuart was one of the first famous painters that painted portraits of the first six presidents of the United States of America. His most well-known painting was one called “The Athenaeum”, which was made in 1796. This was an unfinished portrait of George Washington that is currently on the U.S. dollar bill. Gilbert Charles Stewart was born on December 3, 1755(1755-12-03) and had died on July 9, 1828(1828-07-09), at age 72. Mary Stevenson Cassatt was an American painter and lived in France for a long time. She had also been a part of the Impressionism movement, but had focused her paintings on women and children. She was born on May 22, 1844(1844-05-22) and died on June 14, 1926(1926-06-14), at an age of 82. Some famous paintings were, “The Boating Party”, “Summertime”, “Child in Straw Hat”, “Mother and Child”, and “Children on the Beach”, were some of her paintings. Each title of the paintings showed affection, love, happiness, and much more. The Harlem Renaissance was a period from the 1920s to the 1930s, that involved many African American talented artists. There were many famous artists during the Great Depression like, , John Steuart Curry, Grant Wood , Joseph Stella, Reginald Marsh, Isaac Soyer, and Raphael Soyer.


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