Terra Collection Initiative: American Encounters: Genre Painting and Everyday Life

George Caleb Bingham, The Jolly Flatboatmen, 1877-78, oil on canvas, 26 1/16 x 36 3/8 in. (66.2 x 92.4 cm), Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.15

The second in a four-part series of exhibitions mounted through a partnership between the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Musée du Louvre, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the High Museum of Art, Genre Painting and Everyday Life used a focused selection of paintings from the collections of the participating institutions to explore the interrelated themes of genre painting. A category of paintings that featured trademark or character “types” involved in everyday activities, genre paintings elaborated racial, regional, or class differences between depicted figures or between the subjects of the paintings and their intended viewers. These paintings also articulated a sense of their time period through more subtle cues, addressing music, sight, smell, and even taste in enticing visual narratives. Finally, many of the paintings featured were also circulated widely as engravings and chromolithographs, expanding their reach, widening their context, and representing changing modes of communication in nineteenth century America.

The exhibition was accompanied by a publication that features an overview essay as well as interpretive text and comparative images for each exhibition object.

Dates & Venues

January 19–April 22, 2013
Musée du Louvre, Paris, France

May 11–August 12, 2013
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, United States

September 14, 2013–January 12, 2014
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Works of Art from the Terra Foundation Collection


Brownlee, Peter John. American Encounters: Genre Painting and Everyday Life. Chicago: Terra Foundation for American Art. Distributed by University of Washington Press, 2012.

Related Content

Press release: Louvre, High, Crystal Bridges, and Terra Foundation Announce Second Installment of Multi-year American Art Collaboration

Lecture series: “L’image-récit. L’art américain XVIIIe–XXe siècle,” Musée du Louvre, February, 2013; lecture series program

Browse all Terra Collection Initiatives