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American Realism, also called American Scene, refers to a style of realist painting that emerged in the United States of America (USA) in the first two decades of the 20th century. Its characteristics are the most realistic possible rendering and the often socially critical depiction of the "typical American" lifestyle and sensibility. American Realism is considered the first national art style of its own in the USA; Abstract Expressionism, also known as the New American Scene, developed from it in the 1940s. Stylistically, American Realism is close to New Objectivity and genre painting.


American Scene

The development of an American style in 20th century modern art is associated with the outbreak of the First World War. The New York gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz exhibited European artists such as Marcel Duchamp and Francis Picabia, who were representatives of European Modernism, for the first time. As a photographer, Stieglitz preferred to devote himself to the modern urban landscape of New York and the transformation from the Old to the New World. However, decisive impulses came from the 1913 Amory Show, which documented a supremacy of European art and was perceived as an insult against native culture. A strong patriotic and conservative regionalism visible in the artworks was the response.
With the outbreak of the Second World War, American Realism lost its significance and was replaced by the Abstract Expressionism called New American Scene.




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