Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery


Helen A. Cooper with Robin Jaffee Frank, and Elisabeth Hodermarsky and Patricia E. Kane, with the assistance of Amy Kurtz Lansing
Introduction by David McCullough
With essays by Jon Butler, Joanne B. Freeman, Howard R. Lamar, and Jules David Prown, and contributions by various authors

The American experience—from its colonial beginnings to the modern age—has captured the imagination of all Americans, including its artists. They transcended their often limited environments by the sheer intensity of their vision to create masterpieces in paint, wood, and silver. This richly illustrated book explores works from the renowned collections of American paintings, decorative arts, prints, and photographs at the Yale University Art Gallery and creates a vivid portrait of a young country defining itself culturally, politically, and geographically.

Distinguished scholars shed new light on American history by examining some of the most familiar and revered objects in American art—paintings by John Trumbull, Charles Willson Peale, John Singleton Copley, Thomas Eakins, Frederic Edwin Church, Albert Bierstadt, and Winslow Homer; silver by Paul Revere and Tiffany & Co.; furniture by Alexander Roux and Henry Connelly; and photographs by William Henry Jackson and Eadweard Muybridge, among others. The authors discuss how issues of cultural heritage, patriotism, politics, moral outrage, material aspirations, and exploration shaped America’s art as well as its ideas, attitudes, and traditions.


2009 Outstanding Academic Title, Choice (American Library Association)

Yale University owns one of the premier collections of American art, and this impressive exhibition catalog fully brings its richness and variety to the public’s eye. —J. Simon, Choice

Highly recommended for all collections on American art. —Jack Perry Brown, Library Journal