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Wendy N. E. Ikemoto
Allegory, American History, American Literature, Art History, Foundation Literature, George Washington, Historiography, History, Hudson River School, Revolution, Science and Art, Thomas Cole, Time in Art, VC
Wendy N. E. Ikemoto, Associate Curator of American Art at the New York Historical Society and former Vassar professor, talks about her new book Antebellum American Pendant Paintings: New Ways of Looking (Routledge, 2017). Antebellum American Pendant Paintings: New Ways of Looking marks the first sustained study of pendant paintings: discrete images designed as a pair. It opens with a broad overview that anchors the form in the medieval diptych, religious history, and aesthetic theory and explores its cultural and historical resonance in the 19th-century United States. Three case studies examine how antebellum American artists used the pendant format in ways revelatory of their historical moment and the aesthetic and cultural developments in which they partook. The case studies on John Quidor’s Rip Van Winkle and His Companions at the Inn Door of Nicholas Vedder (1839) and The Return of Rip Van Winkle (1849) and Thomas Cole’s Departure and Return (1837) shed new light on canonical antebellum American artists and their practices. The chapter on Titian Ramsay Peale’s Kilauea by Day and Kilauea by Night (1842) presents new material that pushes the geographical boundaries of American art studies toward the Pacific Rim. The book contributes to American art history the study of a characteristic but as yet overlooked format and models for the discipline a new and productive framework of analysis focused on the fundamental yet complex way images work back and forth with one another.