Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program

Art History and Archaeology

Author's Department/Program

<--Please Select Department-->


English (en)

Date of Award

Spring 4-25-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Angela Miller


This study historicizes the physical processes of painting of the American artists Winslow Homer (1836-1910), Albert Pinkham Ryder (1847-1917), and John Marin (1870-1953). It situates their practices in the context of late-nineteenth and twentieth-century American culture by thinking of painting as a phenomenal experience shaped by beliefs and attitudes towards the material world and the function of painting. More specifically, this study examines what I identify as these artists' struggles, in selected paintings, with the viscous and voluptuous nature of oil painting as a process rooted in the visceral world of the body and base materials. In these works, the artists struggled with paint as a resistant yet seductive substance in ways that disrupted aesthetic practices and threatened fundamental attitudes towards art and physical experience. These material conflicts, in turn, generated metaphysical conflicts inflected by shifting beliefs and anxieties concerning the relationship between the mind, body, and matter in American culture, manifested in developments in philosophy, science, and literature that challenged fundamental attitudes towards the self, nature, and experience.


Permanent URL: