Date of Award

Summer 8-2014

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Art History & Archaeology

Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



Throughout the mid to late nineteenth century, a new group of academic painters trained in Germany emerged as self-appointed ethnographic experts who sketched and painted heroic visions of a wild American West, and a similarly wild North Africa and Middle East. This group of artists, like their literary analog, traveled to the places they depicted. Artists Adolf Hoeffler (1825-1898), Carl Wimar (1828-1862), Friedrich Frisch (1813-1886), Adolf Schreyer (1828-1899) and Eugen Bracht (1842-1921) fused their artistic personae with their subjects to present themselves as ethnographic experts depicting scenes that asserted their own empirical authority as observers. They not only exhibited their art, but also published travel accounts and conducted public lectures reporting on the peoples and places they had visited. Hoeffler and Wimar traveled to the American West. Frisch, Bracht and Schreyer were Orientalists. The reception of their work is tied to the imperial aspirations and entrepreneurial possibilities their artistic subjects represented for the American and German public who read their travel writing and bought their art.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Elizabeth Childs

Committee Members

Angela Miller, Lynne Tatlock


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