Mount Marty
Watertown Campus
Art 286
1 credit

Survey of American Art


Unit 1
Religious Influence
Folk Artists

Unit 2
Expansion West

Unit 3
Ancient Architecture
American Architecture

Unit 4
Expatriates/Some Stayed
European Influence

Unit 5
Into the 20th Cent.
The Armory Show

Unit 6
Early Abstract
Some of the "isms"

Unit 7
American Scene
Social Realism

Unit 8
Geometric Abstract

Unit 9
Return to Realism

Unit 10
Abstract Expressionism

Unit 11
Pop and Op

Unit 12
Computer graphics

Unit 13
Ethnic Movements

Unit 14
South Dakota

Instructor: Gary Witcher
Phone: 886-4559 (W)   882-2370 (H)

Course Description: Survey of American Art provides an overview of the development of visual art in the United States.

Course Objectives/Goals: This course is intended to help the student develop the following:
A. The student will be able to identify through five written tests major American artists and art works from Colonial days to the present.
B. The student will be able to discuss and identify through five written tests specific periods and movements in American Art.

Required Text: Course information is disseminated through lectures, slides and videos. There is no printed text, but information is available Online at

Course Policies:
1. Students are expected to attend all class sessions.   Tests and assignments missed due to absence may not be made up except for justifiable absences.  (Whenever possible, the instructor or office should be contacted before the missed class.)  Tests will be available in the office until the following class period.  Other assignments may be made up one week after the absence.  Each absence over two may reduce the “class participation” portion of the grade by one letter.  Partial attendance may be counted as an absence.
2. Tests will be placed in office to be completed before the following class.
3. Plagiarism (submitting another person's work as you own) and academic dishonesty (copying another person's lab or exam, i.e. cheating) will result in the student's failure in the course.
4. The instructor reserves the right to alter the syllabus over the course of the semester.  Changes in scheduled activities will be announced in class; it is up to the individual students to keep abreast of these changes.

Periodic (5) tests will evaluate knowledge of information covered since previous exam.  There is no comprehensive midterm or final.  Most questions will be multiple-choice or short-answer.  Method of evaluating students:
40% attendance and class participation
60% tests
A = 90-100 % - all assignments done
B = 80-89 %
C = 70-79 %
D = 60-69 %
F = 59% or below

Class Schedule:
1: Colonial – an overview of  folk art, religious influences and professional artists in the development of colonial and post-Revolutionary art (Puritans, Shakers, Quakers, Hicks, West, Copley, Peale, Stuart, Trumbull, Morse)

2: Western expansion – an examination of the influence of western expansion on American attitudes about art (Hudson River School, Cole, Durand, Bierstadt, Audubon, Catlin, Bingham, Remington, Russell)

3: Architecture – a survey of Western architecture from Greek through Baroque and the influence on American architecture (Colonial, Federal/Classical, Eclectic, International)

4: Impressionism – a summary of European Impressionism and Post-Impressionism and its effect on American art (Degas, Renoir, Monet, Cezanne, Seurat, vanGogh, Eakins, Ryder, Homer, Whistler, Cassatt, Sargent)
test units 1-3

5: Into the 20th Century / Ashcan – a study of America realism through the brushes of Henri, Glackens, Luks, Sloan, Shinn, Bellows

6: Abstract – a look at the introduction of abstract art and the “isms” that shaped the American reaction (Armory Show, Picasso, Stieglitz, Weber, O’Keeffe, Marin, Hartley, Dove, Davis, Demuth, Macdonald-Wright, Duchamp, Stella, Sheeler)

7: Depression – a synopsis of the Social Realism (Shahn, Soyer, Marsh, Evergood, Blume, Levine, Tooker) and American Scene (Benton, Hopper, Curry, Wood) movements
test units 4-6

8: Geometric Abstract, Surrealism – an overview of two art movements resulting from the migration of European artists to the United States before WWII (Hofmann, Albers, Mondrian, Breton, Dali, Ernst, Gorky, Ray, Tanguy, Tobey)

9: Return to Representationalism – an examination of artists who held the banner of representationalism (Moses, Rockwell, Wyeth)

10: Abstract Expressionism – a study of the first art movement born in America (Pollock, de Kooning, Kline, Rothko, Motherwell, Calder)
test units 7-9

11: Pop, Op – an overview of the impact of popular culture on American art (Rauschenberg, Johns, Lichtenstein, Rosenquist, Oldenburg, Warhol) and a subsequent movement that focused on optical impact (Escher, Riley)

12: Technology: photography, computer – a survey of the roles of photography (Brady, Gardner, O’Sullivan, Jackson, Curtis, Stieglitz, Steichen, Lange, Adams) and computer graphics (Sutherland, Catmull)

13: Ethnic movements – a synopsis of black (Beardon, Johnson, Lawrence) and Latin American (Rivera, Siqueiros, Kahlo) artists
test units 10-12

14: Local interest – a look at artists of local interest (Dunn, Howe, Hinton, Green, Millette, Moisan, Negaard, Wilson, Redlin)

15: Summary
test units 13-15


Mount Marty Mission Statement

Mount Marty College, an academic community in the Catholic Benedictine
liberal arts tradition, prepares students for a contemporary world of work,
service to the human community, and personal growth.