Sample Essay on Impact of American Experience and French Realism on American Realism

American realism brings together appealing works of American painters such Thomas Eakins and American experience from artists such as Winslow Homer. These artists though categorized separately and in opposing groups shared their experienced and objectivities of impressing the world by noting down the common ordinary activities in that period. The study examines how American realism coupled with the American experience and French realism presented a fresh point of view. The study argues that introduction of French realism in American artwork resulted to generation of objectivity into the regular aesthetic work. In addition to this, viewers can related closely the works of these painters with reconstruction age in America.

American realism depicts numerous strengths of the artistic achievements from the colonial period to through paintings and creations of ordinary people undertaking their daily activities. [1]Several lenders like French realism artists, and Thomas Eakins among others profoundly contributed to the regeneration of point of view. Within their individual limitations of time and locations, the artists communicated numerous tales through varied settings, players, and narrative devices. It is through their individual descriptions did the artists confront the personality of the American identity, attitude on race, reality, and myth in the west, and the procedure of making art. These features depicted American expansion from the isolated world to international participation of artistic work.

It is through the artistic work that the viewers come to terms with the American background in agriculture and rural life. These works are highly educative when perceived in light of the present developments on urban, industrial developments, and technological innovations. Viewers come to learn about the modest British colonies that later became American states, modification of family structures, redefinition of gender roles and increase of population. All through the transformative era, artists responded to the changes that defined the American history and culture. The viewer is able to learn about the skillful execution of the artistic work that reflected much training from experienced painters.

These artists defined their periods to retell their training, travel, exhibition venues, and the expectation of the audience. From the works of Homer and Thomas, viewers are able to discover the occurrences of civil war and the reactions of the artists, presence of volunteers in civil wars rather than professional soldiers, and the significance of civil war to democracy.[2] These lessons come clearer in Homer’s “Pitching Quoits of 1865” that shows soldiers resting in a camp while still wearing uniforms similar to the Zouaves that fought the French in the Crimean war. Exposure derived from travelling to industrial northeast, other contemporary continents such as in French redefined the skills, and works of the artists as the painters embraced unprecedented internationalism, new stories and how to retell them. Assisted by the French realists, the artists capably accommodated the situation in America into their works. [3]These changes are attributed by the fact that they painted daily activities of the people in Paris and in the French countryside.

The French realists inspired American painters to become Baudelairean painters by embracing true painting that expressed nationalism, optimism, euphemism, and nostalgia. These feelings were reactions from the Americans to the exhilarating and overwhelming developments of the new period. From the works, it is evident that the spirit of America was as diverse, imaginative, and energetic as it presently is. Americans took up to the challenge of the developing era and represented the society they confronted as they pursued new developments in visual arts(). Therefore, from the eyes and mind of the artists, the present generation can find satisfaction in the country and diversity that guarantees the dedication to the principles of freedom and the progressive spirit, which form the hallmarks of the American belief.



Weinberg Barbara & Rebora Carrie. American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765-1915.

(New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009).  Available at>

[1] Barbara Weinberg & Carrie Rebora. American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765-1915. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009). Para 7


[2] Barbara Weinberg & Carrie Rebora. American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765-1915. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009). 3


[3] Ibid 7