Is there a name for the kind of art that depicts early American towns as nearly two-dimensional?
June 1, 2012 10:54 AM   Subscribe

Is there a name for the kind of folk art painting that depicts early American towns as nearly two-dimensional?

By this I mean: all the buildings shown on top of one another, looking flat, almost like a cross between a landscape and a map. I remember seeing a lot of these images in my American History books but don't know what they're called. Thanks in advance!
posted by theletterfour to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm thinking you might mean something along the lines of Grandma Moses' style, something like this image or maybe even these embroiderings? I would call them "primitive" or "naive" since those terms often cover paintings with odd or missing perspective...with the caveat that those terms carry something of a loaded meaning. I don't know of a more specific name but I'm just somebody who watches Antiques Roadshow.
posted by bcwinters at 11:10 AM on June 1, 2012

This article about an American art museum's permanent collection discusses Modern Primitive artists. In addition to the painting shown in that article, it mentions art by Joseph Pickett, Harry Lieberman, Clementine Hunter. Do these look like what you mean?
posted by Houstonian at 11:13 AM on June 1, 2012

I'd say naïve as well: Edward Hicks, Grandma Moses, or American Folk Art: Charles Wysocki or Jane Wooster Scott.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:18 AM on June 1, 2012

Yep, absolutely sounds like Charles Wysocki and others in the Primitive style (although we just called it american folk art), my mom adored his in particular and framed some of his calendar art. That style is burned into my brain!
posted by Sayuri. at 11:25 AM on June 1, 2012

Response by poster: Wow, this is all fascinating. Thanks for the links, everyone! I had no idea the art I was thinking of was so contemporary... in my mind it's more like paintings of early colonial towns made in the colonial era, not modern work meant to evoke nostalgia. Hmmm! I guess it's been a while since I've opened my high school history books. No wonder all the colonial art I was finding online wasn't what I was looking for.

Thanks again everyone.
posted by theletterfour at 8:54 AM on June 2, 2012

Do you mean "Bird's-eye views", or panoramic maps? You might provide an example of this 'folk-art painting'...
posted by lathrop at 9:20 PM on June 2, 2012

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