The 58 Most Beloved American Artworks

The people have spoken, and this is what they chose.

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Gilbert Stuart, "George Washington" (1821)
Edward Hicks, "The Peaceable Kingdom" (1846—47)
Fitz Henry Lane, "Boston Harbor, Sunset" (1850—55)
Jasper Francis Cropsey, "Autumn on the Hudson" (1860)
Frederic Edwin Church, "The Icebergs" (1861)
James McNeill Whistler, "Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl" (1862)
John Singleton Copley, "Watson and the Shark" (1778)
Thomas Eakins, "The Biglin Brothers Racing" (1872)
Winslow Homer, "Breezing Up (A Fair Wind)" (1873—76)
Winslow Homer, "Cotton Pickers" (1876)
Thomas Moran, "Green River Cliffs, Wyoming" (1881)
William Michael Harnett, "The Old Violin" (1886)
Martin Johnson Heade, "Giant Magnolias on a Blue Velvet Cloth" (1890)
Mary Cassatt, "The Child's Bath" (1893)
Mary Cassatt, "The Boating Party" (1893—94)
Winslow Homer, "The Water Fan" (1898—99)
John Singer Sargent, "Dorothy" (1900)
John Singer Sargent, "The Fountain" (1907)
Erwin E. Smith, "Frank Smith, Watering His Horse" (1909)
Erwin E. Smith, "Frank Smith, Watering His Horse" (1909)
John Singer Sargent, "Nonchaloir (Repose)" (1911)
Frank Lloyd Wright, "Avery Coonley Playhouse Triptych Window" (1912)
George Bellows, "Cliff Dwellers" (1913)
Childe Hassam, "Allies Day" (1917)
Charles Burchfield, "Noontide in Late May" (1917)
Imogen Cunningham, "Magnolia Blossom" (1925)
Charles Demuth, "My Egypt" (1927)
Grant Wood, American Gothic, (1930).
Edward Hopper, "Early Sunday Morning" (1930)
Millard Sheets, "Angels Flight" (1931)
Charles Sheeler, "Classic Landscape" (1931)
Charles Sheeler, "Classic Landscape" (1931)
Emil J. Bisttram, "Pueblo Woman" (1932)
Mrs. Fannie B. Shaw, "Prosperity is Just Around the Corner" (1930–32)
Georgia O'Keeffe, "Summer Days" (1936).
Margaret Bourke-White, World's Highest Standard of Living (1937)
Margaret Bourke-White, "World's Highest Standard of Living" (1937).
Joseph Stella, "The Brooklyn Bridge: Variation on an Old Theme" (1939)
William H. Johnson, "Blind Singer" (1942)
Edward Hopper, "Nighthawks" (1942)
Archibald John Motley Jr., "Nightlife" (1943). Photo courtesy The Art Institute of Chicago.
Archibald John Motley Jr., "Nightlife" (1943). Photo courtesy The Art Institute of Chicago.
Ivan Albright, "Picture of Dorian Gray" (1943—44)
Thomas Hart Benton, "Poker Night" (1948)
Willem de Kooning, "Excavation" (1950)
George Tooker, "The Subway" (1950)
Charles Wilbert White, "Harvest Talk" (1953)
Mark Rothko, "White Center" (1957)
Willem de Kooning, "Montauk Highway" (1958)
Jasper Johns, "Three Flags" (1958).
Jasper Johns, "Three Flags" (1958).
Roy Lichtenstein, "Look Mickey" (1961).
Roy Lichtenstein, "Cold Shoulder" (1963).
Andy Warhol, "Campbell's Soup Can" (1964)
Georgia O'Keeffe, "Sky Above Clouds IV" (1965)
Georgia O'Keeffe, "Sky Above Clouds IV" (1965)
Edward Ruscha, "Hollywood" (1968)
Edward Ruscha, "Hollywood" (1968).
Romare Bearden, "Soul Three" (1968)
Chuck Close, "Phil" (1969)
Richard Diebenkorn, "Ocean Park No. 29" (1970)
James Rosenquist, "Paper Clip" (1973)
Robert Mapplethorpe, Ken Moody and Robert Sherman (1984).
Robert Mapplethorpe, Ken Moody and Robert Sherman (1984).
Cindy Sherman, Untitled (2008)

While New York galleries prepare for their yearly snooze, the rest of America is about to get a major art infusion, thanks to Art Everywhere US. The stateside iteration of Art Everywhere UK, which began in mid-July, the project will place works of art voted on by the public in spaces that would typically be occupied by advertisements. Organizers are calling it “the largest art show ever conceived,” and beginning on August 4th, look out for slices of art history occupying highways, bus stops, and shopping centers near you.

But the most fascinating aspect of the project is witnessing the 58 pieces our fellow Americans selected from the original list of 100 (which was put forward by experts at leading museums including The Whitney Museum of American Art and The National Gallery) to represent the cornerstones of American art. The list is heavy with works from the late 1800s and early– to mid–1900s, and thins out considerably after the 1960s. The sole piece from the past 20 years to make the cut is Cindy Sherman‘s Untitled from 2008. If we’re to take this list as any indication, the American public is drawn to rugged landscapes and beautiful children, and values work that has an historical theme.

Unsurprisingly, Edward Hopper’s oft-parodied Nighthawks received the most votes, probably due to its iconic status and “Anytown, USA” feel. Other selections range from Gilbert Stuart‘s 1821 portrait of George Washington (kind of a snoozer) to Andy Warhol‘s Campbell’s Soup Can (duh). Notable works included on the longlist but not selected by voters are Catherine Opie‘s Self-Portrait/Cutting, Ed Ruscha‘s Large Trademark with Eight Spotlights, and Samuel J. Miller’s portrait of Frederick Douglass.

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