Landscape as Machine: Vision and Imagination in Nineteenth-Century American Painting


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


Art History


This project examines dislocations, disturbances, and failures of vision in American nineteenth-century landscape painting. This focus contests the supremacy of the “magisterial gaze” in American landscape, resulting in a more nuanced interpretation of works that have long occupied a crucial position in the historiography of American art. It examines the vexed but productive relationship American artists had with the imagination, and explores how that relationship was worked out in painting, mass culture spectacles, and visual culture. The project traces varieties of multisensory experience in those media, showing how the body and its sensuous proxy, landscape, could be both an unfeeling machine and an engine of reverie.