American perception of landscape has its own history of evolution which spans over three centuries. From mere observation in colonial times to attributing symbolic meaning of nature in the 19th century it has traveled a long way. Presently it is being used as a catalyst to discover a wide range of ideas. The earliest landscapes were produced by the English and French explorers driven by a spirit of inquiry about the new world.
The earliest known landscape is depicted in the background of a portrait of Pau de Wandelaer .Portraits similar to this used landscape only as backdrop. Pure landscapes were not in vogue as religious or historical themes were considered as relevant subjects of art. The great artist Thomas Cole exhibited his first landscape paintings in 1825 when nature came to be regarded as an individual subject of painting.
From then onwards a journey started and even the art movements of the early 20th century such as Cubism, Expressionism and Surrealism had landscape as their preferred subject matter of painting.Even newer generation of American artists have found new meaning in the eternal appeal of nature. Work of Constable and Bonington greatly influenced American landscape painting.
Famous American landscape painters
Some of the luminaries in the world of American landscape painting were as follows-
- Thomas Cole.
- Asher Durand
- Winslow Homer
- George Caleb Bingham
- John James Audubon