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From exhibition-sized compositions to oil sketches done in situ, with subject matter ranging from landscapes, seascapes, urban views, genre scenes, costume studies, nudes, and portraits, these American paintings maintain their appeal because they speak to an undiminished fascination with Italy and its people. Oftentimes making reference to salient issues of their time, such as the Risorgimento and unification in Italy or slavery and the Civil War in the United States, they provide a visual framework for the consideration of issues of cultural and national identity in Italy and America over the course of the long 19th century.
American Paintings
Working on paper constituted a vital facet of the American artistic experience of Italy in the 19th century because the support was portable and relatively inexpensive, allowing for ease of movement, experimentation, and the creation of a visual repertoire for future reference.  From quick charcoal sketches to highly finished watercolors and pastels intended for public exhibition, their freshness and immediacy reflect the artist’s direct engagement with the motif. Intact sketchbooks are valuable records of campaigns in the field.
American Drawings & Watercolors
19th-century American sculptors flourished in Florence and Rome, finding in these traditional capitals of the artform the inspiration and resources that facilitated their studies and original productions. Female sculptors discovered the personal and professional freedom unavailable to them at home. From neoclassical marbles to verismo bronzes, these works stand among the greatest achievements of American artists abroad. 
American Sculpture
European drawings and watercolors of Italian subjects complement and contextualize the American collection. Examples by an international array of artists allow for a richer understanding of the traditions as well as the contemporary milieu that the Americans encountered and responded to in their own work.
European Drawings & Watercolors
European sculpture serves as an important visual point of reference for the American works of sculpture as well as for other objects in the collection. Whether worked in marble, bronze, or terra cotta, contemporary sculpture practice in Italy retained its privileged status in the hierarchy of the fine arts.
European Sculpture
Daguerreotypes, salted paper prints, and collodions tell the history of the birth and development of photography through the lens of the Eternal City. With its balmy Mediterranean climate, artistic treasures, and vibrant transnational community of artists, Rome presented unique opportunities and problems for pioneering practitioners of the medium who would forever change how we view Rome.
Print culture was an integral feature of the artistic scene in 19th-century Italy where a robust network of printmakers and distributors supplied an international audience of artists, connoisseurs, and collectors. Prints afforded a practical means for the dissemination of current standards of artistic facture and are indispensable for our understanding of the history of art and taste.
An archive and specialist library are open to qualified researchers working on the topic of American and European artists working in Italy in the long 19th century.
Archive & Library
The McGuigan Collection


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