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One special thing about 18th and 19th century American art history is that many of its artists were never professionally trained. Europe and other older taught of their artists. Degas, Monet, and Renoir are just a few of these famous artists.
Degas, Monet, and Renoir are just a few of these famous artists. And though there were professional artists in the United States, a whole group of untrained and less wealthy people decided to and try making things on their own. They did it to express themselves, to show what was happening in their lives, and sometimes they did it because they had no other way of making money. A lot of their artwork has been called “basic” or “childlike” because it wasn’t as professional as other working and famous artists.
But interestingly, these American artists, also called “folk artists,” became very popular in their own way. Fans of art started to appreciate the behind their work and the uniqueness in its appearance. Most of these artists were poor, so they used whatever materials they could find: paint, wood, glass bottles, metal, wild berries, and sometimes dirt.
Even the images they show are unusual. Many of the paintings and drawings show the unhappiness and danger of living in in poor and parts of America. Plus, unlike other professionals, these self-taught artists sold their work for a lot less money. And they displayed their art from their homes or roadside unlike in galleries where artwork is normally seen and sold.