American art is a diverse and complex field, with a history that spans centuries. American artists have long been at the forefront of innovation, helping to shape the course of art history.
Native American art is some of the oldest in the world, and its traditions have been passed down through generations. Native American artists typically use natural materials like wood, stone and feathers to create their artwork. European settlers then brought their own artistic traditions to the American continent, and over time, these influences began to blend and form new styles.
Another early American art form is folk art, which includes both traditional arts like quilting and basket-weaving, as well as more modern items like outsider art and self-taught art. American painting began to emerge in the late 18th century with artists like John Singleton Copley and Benjamin West.
American art is often characterized by its distinct approach to depicting the country’s landscapes and people. In the 19th century, American artists developed their own distinct styles, with landscape painters such as Thomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church creating sweeping views of the American continent, while painters Winslow Homer and Andrew Wyeth captured more intimate moments.
Cole is widely acknowledged as the founder of the Hudson River School, a 19th-century movement that championed this approach to pastoral landscapes, its paintings now some of the most iconic images of American culture.
In the 20th century, American artists began to experiment with different mediums and styles, giving rise to movements like Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. These days, American art is as varied as the country itself, with artists working in every imaginable style and medium, including the burgeoning digital NFT art realm.