Becoming America


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Highlights from the Jonathan and Karin Fielding Collection of Folk Art


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Celebrating two collectors’ passion for Americana and the window it provides into the everyday beauty of the past

Becoming America offers a multifaceted view of one of the foremost collections of 18th- and 19th-century American folk and decorative art from the rural Northeast. Essays by leading specialists discuss the culture of furniture workshops, exuberant painted decoration, techniques of sewing and quilting, and poignant stories about the families depicted in the portraits. The collection itself includes Shaker boxes, a beaded Iroquois hat, embroidered samplers, metalwork, scrimshaw, handwoven rugs, ceramics, and a weather vane. The majority of these works have never before been published. With lively essays and profuse illustrations, this handsome volume brings to life the aesthetic of early Americans living in the countryside and is an essential exploration of the period’s taste and style.

Distributed for The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

Exhibition Schedule:

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA
(October 22, 2016–ongoing)

James Glisson is interim chief curator of American art at The Huntington. Jonathan Fielding is the former director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and Distinguished Professor at UCLA. Karin Fielding is a trustee of the American Folk Art Museum in New York.


The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA
(October 22, 2016–ongoing)

“As you leaf through the pages, you’ll find showstopper after showstopper . . . [but] as rich as the illustrations are, the book merits a place on reference library shelves thanks to the quality of its enlightening—and at times entertaining—scholarly essays.”—Gregory Cerio, The Magazine Antiques

“Especially satisfying . . . An uncommonly compelling assemblage.”—Laura Beach, Antiques and the Arts Weekly

“Beautiful reproductions and insightful text”—Chandra Noyes, Art and Object

“Wonderfully refreshing . . . The catalogue is a Technicolor spectacle . . . An argument for the importance of everyday artifacts as sources of historic evidence and visual delight.”—Jennifer Van Horn, Journal of the Early Republic

Chosen as a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title for 2020
ISBN: 9780300266399
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Publishing Partner: Distributed for The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
264 pages, 0.0 x 0.0
271 color illus.
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