The Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection of American paintings is an outstanding one and includes many famous works. This volume offers an impressive survey of the late nineteenth century segment of the collection. Most notable, perhaps, are the Museum's extensive holdings of paintings by John Singer Sargent, including his celebrated Madame X. Represented too are some of the best trompe l'oeil works by William Michael Harnett, John F. Peto, and John Haberle; important impressionist paintings by J. Alden Weir, Theodore Robinson, and Childe Hassam; as well as fine examples of the academic style. These paintings represent the work of American artists from the post Civil War era through the early twentieth century. Covering the entire period are some 247 works by such painters as Albert Pinkham Ryder, Ralph Blakelock, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Dewing, Cecilia Beaux, Maurice Prendergast, Frederic Remington, and Arthur B. Davies. The paintings are thoroughly discussedand each one is reproduced. They are arranged chronologically by the dates of the artists. Artists' biographies are included, as well as exhibition histories, provenance, and bibliographic references. Related works—preliminary drawings and studies, or copies, prints, and replicas—are listed and often also illustrated.
The author, Doreen Bolger Burke, has provided an introduction in which she discusses the formation of the collection, the artists and collectors who were involved in the museum's activities in the late nineteenth century, the major influences on American painting in those years, and the historical styles represented. Because of the wide scope of the collection the catalogue provides, in effect, a history of American painting in the late nineteenth century. Volume III is the first catalogue to be published in a new three-volume series, of which Volume I includes paintings by artists born before 1815 and Volume II consists of paintings by artists born from 1816 through 1845. While the book will serve as a major research tool for scholars, it will also be of value to anyone interested in American art.