Gardner through the ages : an investigation of Helen Gardner and the 1926 and 1936 editions of Art Through the Ages and A Century of Progress exhibitions




Parkinson, Kirstie Jane

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This thesis examined the life of Helen Gardner and explored changed made to the American art history chapters in the second edition of her text book, Art Through the Ages. Arguably the first comprehensive art history text, introduced to American readers in 1926. Ten years later, Helen Gardner released her second edition of Art Through the Ages (1936). A comparison between the first and second editions reveals that there are many more differences seen than just the physical characteristics of the two editions. Gardner claims in the Preface of the 1936 edition that she rewrote the chapter on American art history. This thesis investigated those changes. For the chapters titled "Art in the United States: The Nineteenth Century", I have compared it with the 1926 edition chapter, "America: The United States From Its Colonization to 1900 AD". By exploring changes made in the second edition when compared to the first, I have been able to theorize why Gardner revised American art chapters. In the decade between the published first and second editions, many historical events occurred, but two were the most salient. In 1933 and 1934, the Chicago Art Institute presented two exhibitions to the public named A Century of Progress. This study provides and supports a historical position that these exhibitions profoundly affected the image and content selection of Helen Gardner's second edition in her American art chapters of her book Art Through the Ages.




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