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«Title of Document: THE AESTHETICS OF INTOXICATION IN ANTEBELLUM AMERICAN ART AND CULTURE. Guy Duane Jordan, Ph.D., 2007 Directed By: Professor Sally ...»

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ABSTRACT

Title of Document: THE AESTHETICS OF INTOXICATION IN

ANTEBELLUM AMERICAN ART AND

CULTURE.

Guy Duane Jordan, Ph.D., 2007

Directed By: Professor Sally M. Promey, Art History and

Archaeology

My dissertation, The Aesthetics of Intoxication in Antebellum American Art and

Culture, proposes an ambitious re-evaluation of aesthetics in the United States between 1830 and 1860 that locates the consumption of images in relation to discourses of excess, addiction, and dependency. I uncover the antebellum period’s physiological construction of looking as a somatic process akin to eating and drinking and offer a new definition of aesthetic absorption not merely as the disembodied projection of the viewer into a pictorial space, but as the corporeal ingestion of the image into the mind of the viewing subject. I demonstrate how this heretofore unstudied and historically-grounded alignment of aesthesis and alimentation played a crucial role in the production and reception of antebellum literature and visual culture. To this end, my dissertation stands as a broad-ranging cultural history that features fundamental reinterpretations of major works of art by Charles Deas, Thomas Cole, Hiram Powers, and Frederic Church.

THE AESTHETICS OF INTOXICATION IN AMERICAN ART AND CULTURE

By Guy Jordan Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Maryland, College Park, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Advisory Committee:

Professor Sally M. Promey, Chair Professor Renée Ater Professor Joy Kasson Professor Franklin Kelly Professor Robert Levine Professor Joshua Shannon © Copyright by Guy Duane Jordan The thesis or dissertation document that follows has had referenced material removed in respect for the owner's copyright. A complete version of this document, which includes said referenced material, resides in the University of Maryland, College Park's library collection.

For Pop (1911—1995) ii Acknowledgements This dissertation would not have been possible without the support of Sally Promey, my advisor at the University of Maryland. Her encouragement, generosity, and most of all, her patience, have been invaluable to my growth as a scholar. She and the other members of my dissertation committee—Renée Ater, Franklin Kelly, Joy Kasson, Robert Levine, and Joshua Shannon—provided keen insights into my topic when I needed it themost. I am especially grateful to Professor Kelly for first alerting me to the rediscovery of Charles Deas’s Walking the Chalk, a painting that became the focal point of my first chapter. My interest in the visual culture of the temperance movement began in a course on American art at the University of Massachusetts, where Bill Oedel introduced the class to a print by Currier & Ives called “The Drunkard’s Progress.” I continue to look back to Professor Oedel’s teaching as a model for my own.

The generous support of a number of institutions provided me with crucial funding and resources that enabled me to complete my dissertation. I thank the Art History department and the Graduate School at the University of Maryland for granting me a Maryland Fellowship in American Art History. Most recently, a Mary Savage Snouffer Dissertation Fellowship at Maryland funded (and, as of this writing, continues to fund) the final year of my writing. A travel grant from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts in 2002 sent me to visit England, Greece, and Turkey. A summer residency fellowship from the Terra Foundation for American Art in 2004 allowed for an idyllic and productive summer in Giverny, France. This project owes much to the intellectually exciting environment there, and I extend

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fellows: Lisha Bai, Catherine Blais, Mounir Elaloussi, Sarah-Kate Gillespie, Laurent Mareschal, Gilles Poulain, Susan Power, Molly Warnock, and Kelly Williams. While in residence, Carol Becker, Yves-Alain Bois, and Guillaume Paris offered valuable advice, and Kerry James Marshall reminded me of the potentially transformative power of writing, and to always keep in mind the responsibility that scholars have to give something back.

I was especially fortunate to be appointed a Wyeth Foundation Predoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in the fall of 2004. The rich resources that the Smithsonian has to offer and the support of a brilliant and friendly community of scholars at the museum enabled me to complete the bulk of this dissertation while in residence there. I am grateful to Amelia Goerlitz and Cindy Mills for making the fourth floor of the Victor Building such a collegial place to think and work. My advisors, Eleanor Jones Harvey and Bill Truettner, shared ideas and suggestions, as did other curators at SAAM and at the National Portrait Gallery, including Brandon Brame Fortune, George Gurney, Anne Collins Goodyear, Frank Goodyear, Virginia Mecklenberg, Ellen Miles, Richard Murray, Wendy Wick Reaves, and David Ward. In the library, Pat Lynagh and Cecelia Chin helped me find valuable primary materials in the vertical files, and Liza Kirwin and the staff of the Archives of American Art furnished me with more rolls of microfilm than I can remember. I also thank Colonel Merl Moore for sharing his unparalleled research on nineteenth-century American art with the public. I appreciate the engaging discussions and feedback offered by my co-fellows, especially Sheila Barker, Sergio

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Jennifer Greenhill, Vicki Halper, Patricia Hills, Kim Hyde, Kenji Kajiya, Michael Komanecky, Jim Lawrence, Kathy Lawrence, Rachel Liebowitz, Jessica May, David McCarthy, Stephanie Mayer, Dorothy Moss, Xiomi Murray, Susan Power, Anne Samuel, Kiersten Swenson, Danielle Schwartz, Emily Taub, Setphanie Taylor, Sue Taylor, and James Wechsler. Rachel and I, along with Aaron Alcorn, Isabel Cserno, Trinidad Gonzales, Veronica Martinez, Daniel Noveck, Jason Ruiz, and Mary Tinti, all fellows from other Smithsonian Museums, participated in a useful dissertation reading group that helped clarify my thinking and improve my writing in chapter four.

In addition to those at the Smithsonian, staff at the following libraries, museums, and galleries provided valuable research assistance to my project: The Art Library and McKeldin Library at the University of Maryland, The Albany Institute of History and Art, The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, The Boston Public Library, Cedar Grove: The Thomas Cole National Historic Site, The Cincinnati Historical Society Library, The Corcoran Gallery, Debra Force Fine Art, The Fennimore Art Museum, The Library of Congress, The Library Company of Philadelphia, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Munson Williams Proctor Institute, The National Gallery of Art, The New York Public Library, the Olana State Historic Site, The Redwood Library and Athenaeum, and The Vedder Research Library. Bill Truettner, Alan Wallach, and David Lubin generously and attentively read chapter drafts and offered sage advice, and Carol Clark shared with me her encyclopedic knowledge of Charles Deas.

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Down and Ania Waller, who have kindly helped me fill out the correct paperwork and make all the necessary deadlines. I thank my friends and colleagues in the graduate program in Art History and Archaeology who have made the past six years so enjoyable. In regard to this dissertation, I am especially grateful to Dena Crosson, Laura Groves, Joy Heyrmann, Jason LaFountain, Margaret Morse, Asma Naeem, Virginia Treanor, Jonathan Walz, Juliet Wiersema, and Bryan Zygmont. The first day I arrived on campus at Maryland, I was met by the warm smile of Kathy Canavan. Although it has been nearly two years since Kathy passed away, her warmth remains. My mother, Joanne Canzano, has been a constant source of inspiration. She and my uncle, Bert Canzano, never questioned my choice of profession, even as student-hood dragged into my early-thirties. The example of persistence and hard work set by them and my late grandparents, Al and Nettie Canzano, continues to motivate me to do my best. I have also come to treasure the lively conversations about art and politics that that inevitably break out whenever I sit down with Tom, Miriam, and John Herin. Most of all, there’s Carol. Without her support, love, and cheer, I could never have finished. I promise that once I deposit the dissertation, I’ll clean up the piles of books, binders, photocopies, and printouts that have come to permanently infest the living room.

.

vi

Table of Contents

Dedication……………………………………………………………………………ii Acknowledgements………………………………………………………………….iii Table of Contents…………………………………………………………………...vii List of Figures………………………………………………………………………..ix Introduction Consuming Images…………………………………………………………………...1 Chapter One Charles Deas’s Vision Problems…………………………………………………...11 Taverns, Alcohol, and Ambiguity……………………………………………………17 Vision Problems……………………………………………………………………...21 Indigestion, Insanity, and the Drunkard’s Shadow…………………………………..28 Spontaneous Combustion……………………………………………………………49 All Used Up………………………………………………………………………….59 Chapter Two

The Drunkard’s Progress and The Course of Empire:

Temperance, Temperature, and Time…………………………………………….63 A Moral and Physical Thermometer…………………………………………………65 The Fast Man………………………………………………………………………...75 Fast Food: Thomas Cole’s Indigestion………………………………………………79 Aesthetics and Appetite……………………………………………………………...95 From Moderation to Abstinence: The Vicious Cycle of Prometheus Bound………102 Consummations…………………………………………………………………….112 Chapter Three Hiram Powers and the Perils of Unmediated Vision……………………………113 The Apple and the Awful Pause: Powers’s Eve Tempted…………………………..128 Ripeness…………………………………………………………………………….137 Fascination………………………………………………………………………….144 Breathing Ideal Sculptures: Mesmerism and Moral Atmospheres…………………151 The Sobriety Test…………………………………………………………………...169 Chapter Four Frederic Church and the Over-Indulgent Eye…………………………………. 183 Ambition, Infection, and (Re)presentation…………………………………………188 Fantasy, Fullness, and Finish: The Incoherence of Completeness…………………200 The Landscape, the Body, and the Self (in Pieces)………………………………....222 The Heart of The Icebergs: Exploration and the Limits of the Male Gaze………....235 Heart and Home…………………………………………………………………….287 vii Conclusion The Intoxication of Aesthetics……………………………………………………290 Figures……………………………………………………………………………...297 Bibliograpy

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Fig. 1. “The Five Senses: No. 1.—Sight,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 9:53 (October 1854): pg. 714 Fig. 2. Christopher Pearse Cranch, Illustration of Emerson’s “transparent eye-ball,” c. 1836, Houghton Library, Harvard University Fig. 3. Charles Deas, Walking the Chalk, 1838, Private Collection Fig. 4. William Sidney Mount, Long Island Farmer Husking Corn, 1833-34, The Museums at Stony Brook; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ward Melville Fig. 5. William Sidney Mount, Dancing on the Barn Floor, 1831, The Museums at Stony Brook; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ward Melville Fig. 6. William Sidney Mount, The Breakdown (Bar-room Scene), 1835, The Art Institute of Chicago; William Owen and Erna Sawyer Goodman Collection Fig. 7. John Lewis Krimmel, Village Tavern, c. 1813-14, Toledo Museum of Art Fig. 8. Richard Caton Woodville, Politics in an Oyster House, 1848, Walters Art Gallery; Gift of C. Morgan Marshall Fig. 9. David Gilmour Blythe, Temperance Pledge, c. 1856-60, Carnegie Museum of Art; Gift of G. David Thompson Fig. 10. David Gilmour Blythe, Conscience Stricken, c. 1860, Philadelphia Museum of Art; The W.P. Wilstach Collection, bequest of Anna H. Wilstach Fig. 11. David Gilmour Blythe, Boy at the Pump, c. 1858-59, Philadelphia Museum of Art; The W.P. Wilstach Collection, bequest of Anna H. Wilstach Fig. 12. Temperance pledge filled in by James Sweeney, 19 November, 1841, Library of Congress, Printed Ephemera Collection Fig. 13. William T. Coggeshall’s membership pledge, Clevelance Marine Total Abstinence Society, 1845, Library of Congress, Printed Ephemera Collection Fig. 14. Delirium Tremens Illustration, n.d., (reproduced in Rorabaugh, The Alcoholic Republic, p. 171) Fig. 15. Charles Deas, The Devil and Tom Walker, 1838, Private Collection

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Fig. 17. Charles Deas, Prairie Fire, 1847, Brooklyn Museum of Art; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, the Guennol Collection Fig. 18. John Warner Barber, “The Horseman and the Ungovernable Steed,” back cover, Barber’s Temperance Tracts, 1870, Private Collection Fig. 19. David Claypoole Johnston, Slavery (Voluntary)…, 1860, American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts Fig. 20. William Sidney Mount, Farmer’s Nooning, 1836, Long Island Museum of American Art, History & Carriages, Gift of Frederick Sturges Jr.



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