Making American Taste: Narrative Art for a New Democracy provides a new perspective on American art by approaching narrative subject matter through the lens of taste as it was defined roughly from 1825 to 1870, when debates over the role of American art addressed not just content, but the role art should take outside of the European tradition. By integrating history, literary and religious subjects with now better-known examples of rural and domestic genre, this exhibition introduces to modern audiences the broad range of styles and narrative themes which appealed to nineteenth-century Americans seeking cultural refinement.
William Sidney Mount (1807-1868), Bargaining for a Horse (Farmers Bargaining), 1835. Oil on canvas. New-York Historical Society, Gift of the New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts, 1858.59