The Civil War and American Art

November 16, 2012 – April 28, 2013

Smithsonian American Art Museum
8th and F Streets, NW
Washington, DC

1st Floor, West Floor Plan

Some of the finest artwork produced during the Civil War and its aftermath illustrate the influence of this period in history on the visual arts in America. On view are works by such leading figures as Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Church, Winslow Homer, Eastman Johnson, Hiram Powers, and John Rogers, along with photographs by Alexander Gardner and Timothy O'Sullivan. The exhibition focuses on how artists addressed the metaphorical war—dealing allegorically or elliptically with the issues of internal warfare, the future of the union, abolition and race relations, and the post-war search for a new American identity. These artists created some of the most compelling landscapes and genre paintings of the mid-19th century, often containing layers of meaning beyond their war-related allusions.