Painting Ephemera in the Age of Mass Production: American Trompe l’Oeil Painting and Visual Culture in the Late Nineteenth Century
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This study offers a fresh approach to investigating the modernization of visual media, exploring themes of media translation, appropriation, and the fine art and popular art divide. This dissertation focuses on paintings that represent prints and photographs in order to understand the relationships between all three media—relationships that changed drastically in late nineteenth-century America. William Harnett, John Haberle, and John Peto made many trompe l’oeil paintings that depict photographs, newspaper clippings, trade cards, and other ephemera. This project posits that these artists represented new media strategically to attract viewers well versed in these forms and to assert the continued relevance of painting. The tensions among these media crystalize broader cultural anxieties around modernization—about cultural legacy, class distinctions, the rapid pace of life, and consumerism’s intrusion into cultural values.
Chair and Committee
Elizabeth Childs, Nathaniel Jones, William Wallace, Nick Yablon,
Harnish, Katherine Brunk, "Painting Ephemera in the Age of Mass Production: American Trompe l’Oeil Painting and Visual Culture in the Late Nineteenth Century" (2019). Arts & Sciences Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1909.
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/3jn9-q558