The Civil War and American Art
May 27–September 2, 2013
Accompanied by a catalogue and an Audio Guide
This major loan exhibition considers how American artists responded to the Civil War and its aftermath. Landscapes and genre scenes—more than traditional history paintings—captured the war's impact on the American psyche. The works of art on display trace the trajectory of the conflict and express the intense emotions that it provoked: unease as war became inevitable, optimism that a single battle might end the struggle, growing realization that fighting would be prolonged, enthusiasm and worries alike surrounding emancipation, and concerns about how to reunify the nation after a period of grievous division. The exhibition proposes significant new readings of many familiar masterworks—some sixty paintings and eighteen photographs created between 1852 and 1877—including outstanding landscapes by Frederic E. Church and Sanford R. Gifford, paintings of life on the battlefront and the home front by Winslow Homer and Eastman Johnson, and photographs by Timothy H. O'Sullivan and George N. Barnard. The exhibition at the Metropolitan coincides with the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863).
Related Works on View
Two related displays are on view at the Museum: the exhibition Photography and the American Civil War (April 2–September 2, 2013); and, in Gallery 690, a selection of American prints reflecting Civil War themes, by Winslow Homer, Thomas Nast, and others (May 20–August 25, 2013). Additional works of art pertaining to the Civil War—all from the permanent collections of the Metropolitan—are on view in The American Wing.