Art and the USA: from Ashcan to Grant Woods

Ref: C2228324

From George Bellows' Men of the Docks (1912) to the 1930s we explore the fascinating and often beautiful varieties of American art as the country became a world power, suffered economic hardship, developed distinctively American artistic subjects and styles. The Ashcan painters (including Bellows) depicted busy parks, boxing rings, leisure on Coney Island, using rapid paint strokes culled from their experiences as artist-reporters. From the 1920s Edward Hopper's images of the urban scene are more reflective - time stands still. Way beyond New York Charles Sheeler's precision, his geometry, represented the factories that powered urban wealth, Grant Wood a proud rural couple. The course also explores Georgia O'Keefe's tightly focused, beautiful art, the Armory Show, Thomas Hart Benton's murals and new styles introduced by emigre artists. Our course is chronological and the final class explores the WPA innovative scheme that employed photograhers and painters during the Depression.

Course aim

This course introduces students to the fascinating, diverse and often beautiful artwork produced in the United States from 1900 to the 1930s. I will encourage active learning through discussion on Zoom and also online on Canvas.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Recognise some paintings by American artists produced during the years 1900 to the 1930s.
  • Describe how and why American artists developed distinctive subjects and styles, within the limits of an introductory course.
  • Understand the importance of some of the cultural and economic circumstances in which American art and artistic movements developed 1900-1930s, within the limits of a one term course.
  • Enjoy and talk about art produced in the United States.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

Nothing else is needed.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Art and the USA: from Ashcan to Grant Woods


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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