Benjamin West. John Singleton Copley. Rembrandt Peale. We’re familiar with their paintings, but how
much do we know of their challenges in establishing themselves as recognized artists of their times?
This exhibit features material from American artists working from colonial days through the early
1900s, and traces the evolving occupation of the professional painter. Early self-instruction led to the
organization of schools and associations for better training and guidance, swelling the ranks. As
competition grew, artists needed to promote themselves, seek and retain patrons, and stay afloat.
This exhibit, on view in the case at the library entrance, was curated by Jeanne Solensky.
(Image: Thomas Nast’s self-portrait, ca. 1879.)