Art Education

August is American Artist Appreciation Month

Kathleen Kills Thunder

When people think of famous visual artists, the first to come to mind are often the European classics: Rembrandt, Picasso, Monet. Unless the exception is someone the viewer is really hooked on, foreign artists often take the spotlight. But there are thousands of American artists who have contributed the same amount of inspiration and talent with their work.

American artists have embraced all varieties of art such as painting, quilting, sculpture, photography, etching, textile art, composing, installation art, and more. The aesthetics of their artistry and design are based in the worlds of Postmodernism, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Pop Art, Abstract Expressionism, and Cubism, to name a few.

Norman Rockwell

When thinking of American visual artists, certain names come to the top of the list: Ansel Adams, Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder, Georgia O’Keeffe, Norman Rockwell, Jackson Pollock, and Andrew Wyeth. And well they should be. Their genius covers the entire spectrum of visual fields.

But there are also artists such as John White, who can be considered the first American painter; John Trumbell, an artist during the American Revolution; and Romare Bearden, an African-American artist whose artwork depicted the African-American culture and experience in creative and thought provoking ways.

John Trumbell

More modern American expressions can be found in the works of Louise Bourgeois, best known for her large-scale sculpture and installation art; Mark Rothko, who moved through many artistic styles until reaching his signature 1950s motif of soft, rectangular forms floating on a stained field of color; Judy Chicago, best known for her large collaborative art installation pieces that examine the role of women in history and culture;

Judy Chicago

and Kathleen Kills Thunder, whose paintings speak with the ancient language of the spirit world made modern by the abstract techniques of waking dreams. 

Mark Rothko

Celebrate the artists who made America the melting pot of art.

Looking to include American artists in your lesson plans? Try Nasco’s Georgia O’Keeffe 3-D Flower Plans or the Georgia O’Keeffe 2-D Flowerland 3-D Sculpey® Insect lesson plans to keep your class in the American Artists world.

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