abstract Scholarship on early American art focuses almost exclusively ontheproductionofartandontheideasthatartistsandtheirelitepatrons intended to inculcate by placing artworks on display. This essay explores art spectatorship in the early republic and examines how middle-class audiences inﬂuenced the content of art displays created by members of the elite. Using readings of works by Washington Allston, John Lewis Krimmel, and Charles Bird King and print accounts of art exhibitions,it argues that the audiences at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts stimulated a vigorous public discourse about its exhibitions that steered the Academy’s purchasing toward historical paintings. The Academy’s acquisition of Allston’s Dead Man Restored demonstrates that spectators played a more signiﬁcant role than scholars have previously recognized in the development of the ﬁne arts in the United States.
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Piggush, Yvette. "Visualizing Early American Art Audiences: The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Allston's Dead Man Restored." Early American Studies 9.3 (2011): 716-47.