Art of the Americas

Landscape, narrative, and portrait paintings, sculpture, works on paper, and photographs from North, Central, and South America, and the Caribbean, dating from the 18th century to the present.

art of americas cheif

Charles Bird King  
United States, 1785-1862  
Portrait of Julcee Mathla, A Seminole Chief 1826 
oil on panel  
Sight: 16 1/2 x 13 1/2 in. (41.9 x 34.3 cm)  
Museum purchase, 71.007.000  
Although Charles Bird King never visited a Native American village, he painted more portraits from life of North American Indians than almost any other artist of his time. Living and working in Washington, D.C., he was able to capture the likeness of members of the various delegations of Indian tribes who visited the Capitol during a period of government negotiation of Indian lands and rights. King was encouraged in this endeavor by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which sought, in this pre-camera era, to preserve a visual record of what it believed might be vanishing peoples. While he was never renowned for great technical achievement, King received critical attention for faithfully recording physical features and tribal costumes. Trained in the United States and London, he studied for some time with Benjamin West (1738-1820). His skill as a sensitive portraitist is evident in this dignified and fascinating portrait of the Seminole chief Julcee Mathla. Although a large number of King's original paintings were destroyed in an 1865 fire that ravaged the Smithsonian Institution's art collection, many survive in his own replicas as well as through painted copies and lithographs made by other artists after King's originals.


art of americas parcero

Tatiana Parcero  
Mexico, b. 1967   
Cartografia Interior #43 [Interior Mapping #43]  

lambda print and acetate  
Sight: 42 7/8 x 29 7/8 in. (108.9 x 75.9 cm)  
Framed: 44 1/2 x 31 1/2 x 1 1/2 in. (113 x 80 x 3.8 cm)  
Museum purchase through funds from Friends of Art, 2006.14.1  
© 1996 Tatiana Parcero

Tatiana Parcero, who lives and works in Buenos Aires, explores her external body as a way of knowing her inner self. Layering photographs of herself with transparencies of anatomical diagrams and fragments of ancient Aztec codices, she addresses notions of identity, memory, and territory, charting them in terms of inner and outer spaces. 

art of americas beach

Reginald Marsh  
United States, 1898-1954   
Afternoon at the Beach  
oil on masonite  
Sight: 17 1/4 x 23 1/8 in. (43.8 x 58.7 cm)  
Framed: 23 1/4 x 29 3/8 x 1 3/8 in. (59.1 x 74.6 x 3.5 cm)  
Museum purchase through funds from Friends of Contemporary Art, 50.008.000   

Working in a realist style, and considered a Regionalist or "American Scene" painter by some art historians, Reginald Marsh was known for his vigorous renderings of New York's urban scene and his depictions of the daily activities of ordinary New Yorkers. His portrayal of bathers cavorting on a crowded beach evokes an idyllic era in the years immediately following World War II. The sinuous, economic line Marsh employed suggests his early background as a cartoonist and a later career as a graphics illustrator for newspapers and magazines. The bulging figuration reflects Marsh's academic training and accounts for his frequent comparison to the Flemish master, Peter Paul Rubens. While Marsh's painting does not identify a specific beach, there is a high probability that the setting is Coney Island, for the artist frequently painted crowd scenes there.