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Grant number like: FB-55687-11

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Patricia A. Johnston
Salem State University (Salem, MA 01970-5353)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2011 – 7/31/2012

Visual Arts and Global Trade in the Early American Republic: The Case of Salem, Massachusetts

Immediately after the Revolution American ships embarked for China and the East Indies, beginning legal trade that made Asian arts more available in the new United States. Imports including lacquerware, ceramics, painting, sculpture, furniture, silver, wallpaper, textiles, and other media had a dramatic impact on the visual arts of Federal America. Salem, Massachusetts, was a key seaport in this economic and aesthetic transition. Global commerce increased demand for geographical knowledge, and institutions (libraries, retailers, and the museum) developed. Texts, images, and objects encouraged deep fraternal bonding. An elite class, characterized and united by global knowledge and ownership of global arts and artifacts developed. The central issue in study of American art in the Early Republic has been how visual materials supported the emergence of American national identity; this study makes a significant contribution by placing early American visual arts in a global context.