Curator’s Note: This is Part II of a virtual ‘exhibition’ examining America’s self image during the Gilded Age, Mark Twain’s derisive term for a period of U.S. industrial and cultural expansion during the last quarter of the 19th century. It offered rich material from some of America’s best-known artists and writers. This exhibition focuses specifically on the cities of the Northeast and here, their rural and coastal environs. The art selected for inclusion in not intended to illustrate the text in any direct or literal sense; any more than the narrative excerpts are meant to be descriptive of the meaning or intent of any painting. Rather, they combine to provide a contemporaneous view of the painter’s visible world and writer’s literary sphere. The pairing of ‘narrative’ painting with a ‘painterly’ narrative yields a multi-sensory experience for the virtual gallery visitor which will hopefully prove larger than the sum of its parts.
“The seaside is a good place to rest in, especially if one can control his surroundings. The quiet, the calm, the peace, the pleasant color, the idyllic sights and sounds, all tend to allay nervous irritation, to tranquilize the soul, the repress the intellectual, and to invigorate the animal functions in a very remarkable degree. But this is not rustic life; it is only the waterfront retreat of the city resident.” xxxxxx (more…)