Touring Pictures: The Exhibition of American History Paintings in the Early Republic


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


Dept. of Art History


During the Early Republic, an era with few patrons and little demand for paintings other than portraits, artists such as John Singleton Copley, Thomas Sully, Samuel F.B. Morse, and Rembrandt Peale adopted the entrepreneurial practice of independently exhibiting and touring history paintings. This project traces the emergence and development of painting exhibitions and tours in America, exploring how this practice shifted art consumption from a tangible object to a visual experience. Touring painting exhibitions impacted the art market in important ways, shaping artistic identity and challenging artists to redefine their roles in the public sphere.