The High Museum’s historical American art collection includes over 1,200 paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints made by American artists between 1780 and 1980. With particular strengths in historical American sculpture and painting, the collection demonstrates the evolution of a distinctly American point of view in artistic representation.
Over the course of the 1800s, America shed its colonial identity as a cultural outpost for its new international role as a cosmopolitan society with increasing global influence. From early American portraiture to the splendor of the Gilded Age, the High’s nineteenth-century collection includes works by John Singleton Copley, Benjamin West, Eastman Johnson, Sanford Robinson Gifford, Frederick Kensett, John Henry Twachtman, Harriet Hosmer, Edmonia Lewis, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Mary Cassatt, and John Singer Sargent.
In the twentieth century, American artists began to take a lead role in shaping modern expression. The High holds works by America’s most progressive artists of the modern age, from the Stieglitz Circle and abstract painters, to artists concerned with social justice and reform, to those rooted in the American art scene.
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