Celebrate the history of Fourth of July with over two centuries of all-American art.
Summertime is upon us, and no festivities epitomizes the season better than that of Independence Day on the Fourth of July.
Since the early 20th century, artists have been inspired by the heat and spirit of this patriotic holiday. Vintage posters from the 1800-1900s were heavily stylized in red, white and blue colors and featured symbols like Uncle Sam and the American eagle.
Nowadays, paintings and photographs celebrating the Fourth of July have evolved around the new symbols of this much-loved day: barbecues, parades, picnics, baseball and, above all, fireworks!
In contrast to all these changes, the traditional significance of family and friends remains a constant subject in Fourth of July artwork. From Maurice Prendergast‘s 1900s watercolor of frolicking in Central Park, to Frank Wright‘s 1998 gathering by the Mall, art has been used to capture the coming together of individuals – and the nation – in the true spirit of the holiday.
Remembering the American Dream
July 4th marks the anniversary of the United States adopting the Declaration of Independence in 1776, emancipating the country from the United Kingdom as a result of the American Revolutionary War.
This significant event has inspired artists for centuries after, with artists like John Trumbull (1756-1843) re-imagining the day in his 1817 painting.
Find out more
See more images of Independence Day in the Bridgeman Archive
Watch iconic American artists at work, including Jasper Johns, Edward Hopper and Grant Wood, through footage clips from the Academic Rights Press
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