Aesthetic Painting in Britain and America:
Collectors, Art Worlds, Networks

Melody Barnett Deusner

Publicaton Date
October 2020
Standard Number
Yale University Press
304 pages, 280 x 220mm
110 colour + b/w illus.

In the nineteenth century, the Aesthetic movement exalted taste, the pursuit of beauty, and self-expression over moral expectations and restrictive conformity.

This illuminating publication examines the production and circulation of artworks made during this unique historical moment. Looking at how specific works of art in this style were created, collected and exchanged, the book pushes beyond the notion of Aesthetic painting and design as being merely decorative. Instead, work by James McNeill Whistler, Edward Burne-Jones, Albert Moore and others is shown to have offered their makers and viewers a means of further engaging with the rapidly changing world around them. This multifaceted and thought-provoking study provides a radical new perspective on a mode of artistic production, linking it to the era’s expanding visual culture and the technological advancements that contributed to it. In a period marked by increasing connectivity, this book shows how art of the Aesthetic movement on both sides of the Atlantic figured into growing global networks.

About the author

  • Melody Barnett Deusner is an associate professor of art history at Indiana University.