The Civil War and American Art

New Book From Yale University Press and the Smithsonian American Art Museum

New Haven, Connecticut, UNITED STATES

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Dec. 3, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

The Civil War and American Art, by Eleanor Jones Harvey

About the Book

"Eleanor Jones Harvey's The Civil War and American Art is the rare book that connects the dots between art and history so well that the reader assumes that the subject is well-worn. It is not."

—Tyler Green, Modern Art Notes

  • Complements a major exhibition on view now at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and travelling to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in May 2013.
  • Publishing on the eve of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The Civil War changed the face of the nation. Landscape was scarred, illusions of unity were overturned and artists were challenged with sites of ambivalence, anxiety and strife. The advent of new technologies led to the robust production and sale of photographs from the battlefield. Meanwhile painters found themselves unable to rely on the conventions of European history painting and glamorize war time heroes, instead depicting landscapes laden with symbolism and realist tableaux that captured the uncertainty of daily life in North and South and served as subtle social critique.

The Civil War and American Art (December 3, 2012) explores the painting and photography, as well as contemporaneous literature and journalism, produced between 1859 and 1876. Eleanor Jones Harvey, senior curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, examines previously understudied elements of the era's visual art—the spate of meteorological phenomena that foreshadowed the war and its appearance in metaphor-laden landscape painting—to produce a fascinating portrait of what—and how—Americans saw during these tumultuous decades.

The Civil War and American Art; Eleanor Jones Harvey; December 3, 2012;

Cloth; ISBN 9780300187335;

352 pages; 151 color + 63 b/w illus.; $65.00

Published in association with the Smithsonian American Art Museum

About the Author

Eleanor Jones Harvey is senior curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Her books include The Voyage of the Icebergs: Frederic Church's Arctic Masterpiece (Yale, 2002) and The Painted Sketch: American Impressions from Nature, 1830-1880 (Abrams, 1998).

About the Exhibition

The Civil War and American Art accompanies an exhibition of the same title that examines how America's artists represented the impact of the Civil War and its aftermath. Winslow Homer, Eastman Johnson, Frederic Church, and Sanford Gifford—four of America's finest artists of the era—anchor the exhibition. Genre and landscape painting captured the transformative effects of the war, not traditional history painting. The Civil War and American Art includes more than 70 paintings and vintage photographs.

Additional information about the exhibition is available online at

Exhibition schedule

Smithsonian American Art Museum                                       November 16, 2012 – April 28, 2013

The Metropolitan Museum of Art                                            May 27, 2013 – September 2, 2013

Julia Haav


Yale University Press

(718) 715-1081

Yale University Press is a premiere scholarly book publisher of art, architecture, business, economics, environmental studies, history, law, literature, philosophy, political science, psychology, reference, religion, science, and world languages titles.

This information was brought to you by Cision,c9343627

The following pictures are available for download:

[Image] The Civil War and American Art