(1870 - 1877)


            1870-1877 is one of the most significant decades of the history of American Arts. Many artists became very famous during this decade because of their unique, creative, and interesting styles of artwork. Some of these artists are Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt, Thomas Eakins, James Whistler, and William Richards. These artists used different styles in their artworks which later influenced the future artists. Some of these popular styles are the Impressionism, Tromp'OEile, Realism, and Romanticism. These artists and their interesting styles, though life was really hard at those years, influenced many future artists because of their very inspiring and unique views of the world which they expressed in their artwork.




            One of the famous artists during this decade is William Trost Richards. He was born on November 14, 1883 in Philadelphia. Before he became an artist, he worked at a local store to support his family after his father's death. He became interested in art when he was growing up. Through practice and observation, Richard was able to acquire and develop his knowledge in paintings which helped him later in his life. Most of the artworks that he made are watercolor views of the White Mountains which are highly praised by many artists during his time. These paintings that he made looked like they were photographs of the White Mountains because they almost look real when you stare at his paintings. Even though he was just a self-taught painter, he still became one of the most successful landscape artists both in the United States of America and in England. Throughout his life, he received many awards because of his outstanding and beautiful paintings. Some examples of these artworks that really amazed people are The Studio Boat , The Bridge at Argenteuil and The Thames below West Minster . He made many beautiful paintings and these are only three of them that are featured today in many American Museums such as the National Gallery Museum and the Brooklyn Museum of Arts. Many artists admired his landscape paintings and his realism style of artwork but his career ended when he died on December 5, 1926.



            Another famous artist during this decade is Winslow Homer who was born in Boston on February 24, 1843. His mother, a very skilled watercolorist, taught him how to draw because she saw his great skills in drawing when he was still young. When Homer reached the age of eighteen, he apprenticed to John Bufford who is a Boston lithographer. He taught Homer how to copy other people's drawing and after three years, Homer decided to be a freelance illustrator. His illustrations are mainly about what he saw and observed around him. These illustrations became popular during his time because they were published by the most popular magazines in those years. In 1862, he was sent to the front lines of the American Civil War to illustrate battles scenes and the conditions of the camps which lasted until 1865. He became interested in painting after the war which made him go to France to study. He came back to New York in 1873 where he started to paint using watercolors and oil. His paintings portrayed rural scenes of farm life, young adults dating and also dramatic nature images. Even though he did not teach, his paintings influenced many future artists because of his interpretations of man's relationship to the wilderness. He was so good that no one can match his beautiful artworks. One person who studied about Homer said "Homer had used his singular vision and manner of painting to create a body of work that has not been matched." He was really in to what he was doing that he never even married. He was regarded as the foremost living American painter during his time. He died in his studio at Prout's Neck at the age of 74 on September 29, 1910.


            William Trost Richards and Winslow Homer are definitely two of that important American artist during the Reconstruction period. They influenced many future artists, even the present ones, because of their very interesting, beautiful, and inspiring styles of artwork. Even though those years were really hard for these artists because it was the time when America was reconstructing or re-building their country after the American Civil War, they still did not stop in painting what they see in their surroundings which also helps many people to visualize what life was during the Reconstruction period.  





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