Among the pieces in the American Art collection at the Mint Museum are sculpture, photographs, unique works on paper, paintings, and prints from the Colonial Era to World War II. Three areas of strength are included within this time frame: Federal portraiture, nineteenth century landscape painting, and early twentieth century realism. Until the mid-nineteenth century, portraiture was the main artform in the country. The portrait collection at the Mint Museum includes artwork by several of this period's leading artists, such as Thomas Sully, Gilbert Stuart, and John Singleton Copley. These artists' paintings allow visitors to view the cultural values, fashions, and personalities of their ancestors. Subjects of these paintings range from young children to significant historical figures.
Landscape painting began to increase in popularity beginning throughout the nineteenth century. The development of this art genre can be traced through the museum's collection from work by painters of the Hudson River School, including Sanford Gifford and Thomas Cole. These painters concentrated on the natural beauty of America's topography through rise of Impressionism, a movement that emphasized a more subjective, abstract view of artists' surroundings. A new generation of artists in America desired an alternative to Impressionism by the twentieth century. Sometimes known as The Ashcan School, these realists focused on the common man and everyday life. The Mint Museum contains important works by several of these artists, including their leader, Robert Henri, and his associates George Bellows, Ernest Lawson, Everett Shin, William Glackens, and George Luks.
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