Digesting Subject, Intent, and Market in Long Island Kitchen

This post is the sixth in a series featuring student papers from “Material Life in America,” a course taught by WPAMC director Dr. J. Ritchie Garrison. The papers address objects with connections to New York in the collection of the Winterthur Museum. Each student began by closely examining his or her object, and over the course of the semester situated the object in increasingly broad contexts of production and use. For many of the students, these projects were a first foray into the world of material culture and Winterthur’s collections, and yielded surprising and challenging results.


Long Island Kitchen, William Miller after a painting by Henry Muhrman, Boston, Massachusetts: Dana Estes & Charles E. Lauriat, ca. 1880. Wood engraving on wove Japanese paper. 1982.0083 Museum purchase

Long Island Kitchen, a circa 1880 wood engraving on Japanese paper, was engraved by William “Willy” Miller (1850-1923) after an 1879 watercolor painting by Henry Muhrman (1854-1916). This engraving is the last of three print iterations published by The American Art Review, a monthly art magazine, between 1880 and 1881. This study traces the transformation of Long Island Kitchen from a watercolor painting to a magazine illustration to a fine-art print to elucidate the image’s layered meanings through its creation, distribution, and consumption. As the image was reproduced, the subject, intent, and market for Long Island Kitchen were transformed, changing both the relationship of the artist to his work and the image’s reception and interpretation. This study situates art within late nineteenth-century historical, cultural, and economic contexts, illuminating the entangled nature of creating, distributing, and consuming art.

Read it here!: Digesting Subject, Intent, and Market in Long Island Kitchen by Katie Bonanno, WPAMC class of 2016

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