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"The Power of Suggestiveness:" Sadakichi Hartmann, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, and American Modernism

  • Author(s): Vasiliou, Tia Anne
  • Advisor(s): Weems, Jason
  • et al.

At the turn of the twentieth century, art and cultural critic Sadakichi Hartmann was deeply invested in fostering an indigenous American modernism. Although he is generally allied with Alfred Stieglitz, Hartmann wrote on a variety of topics outside of modern photography. This thesis explores Hartmann's criticism of the American painter Thomas Wilmer Dewing. While Dewing is often considered a Gilded Age artist, Hartmann's consideration of his work identifies what the writer calls "a suggestive style" or "suggestivism," which draws influences from French Symbolism and classical Chinese and Japanese art. For Hartmann, this suggestivism was essential to creating a national modernism. This thesis presents suggestivism as a means of broadening the scholarship on both Hartmann and Dewing, as well as the historiography of American modernism.

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