A landmark examination of the art and artists inspired by American dance from 1830 to 1960 As an enduring wellspring of creativity for many artists throughout history, dance has provided a visual language to express such themes as the bonds of community, the allure of the exotic, and the pleasures of the body. This book is the first major investigation of the visual arts related to American dance, offering an unprecedented, interdisciplinary overview of dance-inspired works from 1830 to 1960.
Fourteen essays by renowned historians of art and dance analyze the ways dance influenced many of America's most prominent artists, including George Caleb Bingham, William Sidney Mount, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Cecilia Beaux, Isamu Noguchi, Aaron Douglas, Malvina Hoffman, Edward Steichen, Arthur Davies, William Johnson, and Joseph Cornell. The artists did not merely represent dance, they were inspired to think about how Americans move, present themselves to one another, and experience time. Their artwork, in turn, affords insights into the cultural, social, and political moments in which it was created. For some artists, dance informed even the way they applied paint to canvas, carved a sculpture, or framed a photograph. Richly illustrated, the book includes depictions of Irish-American jigs, African-American cakewalkers, and Spanish-American fandangos, among others, and demonstrates how dance offers a means for communicating through an aesthetic, static form.