The Big Picture in American Art

As painters grappled with the big questions of what defines the United States and how to express that definition as a picture in a static medium, some artists literally thought big. This course will offer a select survey of American painting through a close examination of the six large-scale paintings and painting cycles listed below. Each class will address not only the subject matter, material choices, and technique employed in a single monumental work but also the greater socio-political context of the work’s creation and the artworks that inspired and were inspired by it. We will discuss the biography of the artist, his or her peers and systems of institutional support, and audiences’ responses to the painting both at the time of its creation and in more recent years.

  • Samuel F. B. Morse, Gallery of the Louvre (1831-1833)
  • Thomas Moran, The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (1872)
  • Aaron Douglas, Aspects of Negro Life (1934)
  • Jay DeFeo, The Rose (1958-1966)
  • Judy Baca, The Great Wall of Los Angeles (1976-1983)
  • Mark Bradford, Pickett’s Charge (2016-2017)

Mondays, 2:00 pm— 3;30 pm
January 28 — March 11 (no class March 4)
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

Cost: $100

Andrew Wasserman (Ph.D., Stony Brook University) is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History. His research focuses on late modern and contemporary art of the United States. He is completing a book on public art and architecture born of nuclear fear in the final decade of the Cold War.


To register online, visit Emeritus Online Registration, choose the class you want, and click the Add-to-Cart button. Then click the Check Out button and complete the requested information. An email address is required.