Travis Nygard has chapter in newly published book

Associate Professor of Art Travis Nygard has a chapter in the new book A Companion to American Agricultural History, edited by Douglas Hurt and released June 1.

His chapter, “Agriculture and Art,” explores how farming has been depicted in art over the past 200 years, showing that paintings, sculptures, photographs and illustrations have helped farmers understand their role in a changing world. Similarly, consumers looked at art as they bought, cooked, ate, and celebrated agricultural products.

“This was a fun essay to write, as there are so many fascinating ways that farming and food changed Americans’ lives,” Nygard says. “The fact that ears of corn are carved on the tops of columns in the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., attests to the importance of farming in American history.”

He says the chapter explains that some of the most interesting paintings of farmers were made by artists who were raised in the countryside, as they had the firsthand knowledge needed to capture the nuances of rural life. Such art has nudged Americans to imagine farmers in specific ways.

Sometimes men were shown as the managers of small family-run operations, he says. Other times, women were shown as working independently or hand-in-hand with their husbands, in paintings like The Homesteader’s Wife, by Harvey Dunn (1916). Dunn’s paintings inspired Laura Ingalls Wilder to write her Little House on the Prairie books, which later became a popular TV show.


Related Posts

Brian Bockelman

Brian Bockelman awarded residential fellowship at Harvard-owned research center

Brian Bockelman, professor of history and interim director of strategic initiatives, has been awarded a residential fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks, a Harvard-owned estate, museum and […]

Soren Hauge

Soren Hauge interviewed about recent interest rate hikes

Soren Hauge, professor of economics, spoke Thursday, June 16, for Spectrum News 1, a statewide news and information network. He discussed key interest rate hikes […]

Erin Bryan

Erin K. Bryan wins honorable mention in national competition

Assistant Professor of Music Erin K. Bryan has won an honorable mention as a finalist in the 2022 The American Prize in Vocal Performance — […]

David Graham

David Graham guest for virtual meeting of North Carolina writers

Professor Emeritus of English David Graham, an editor and poet, was the featured guest May 13 at a meeting of the North Carolina Writers’ Network-West’s […]