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Seniors learn about American Artists

By Madison Butkus

Hometown Weekly Reporter

Sponsored by Dover’s Council on Aging (COA), the Dover Town Library (DTL) welcomed Deborah H. Stein, PhD, to discuss American Artists and the Landscape. This two part program started at the beginning of the seventeenth century in Europe and will eventually go into the more recent works of the twentieth century. 

COA members gathered together to discuss not only about artwork but also about the land itself. One could easily tell how eager these members were to learn all that Stein was ready to teach them. Specializing in eighteenth and nineteenth-century American and European fine arts and visual culture, Stein was the perfect person to lead this discussion. 

In terms of this program, the DTL went on to mention, “American artists have long found the elements of the landscape to provide a rich language for expressing the hopes and fears of their new and developing nation. In this two-session program, we will explore the work of selected American artists from the early years of the Republic through the turn of the twentieth century. We will set the stage with a glimpse into the landscape tradition in seventeenth through nineteenth-century Europe, examine how these European classical and romantic threads found their way into American artistic production, and consider the impact of factors such as the vast and untamed lands of the American continent as well as burgeoning industrialism and urbanism.” 

This meaningful conversation allowed all who attended to deepen their insight not only on the landscape and artwork over the years, but also on how it compares to our world today. What really made this program stand out was how Stein shaped this session into more of a discussion rather than a lecture. She made sure to ask these COA members different questions and to speak towards their own comments/opinions of each piece of art they looked at. 

Before going into the different types of artwork, Stein asked all members to talk about what comes to mind when they think of landscape. All attendees had very thoughtful answers, some of which described their perfect memory of a landscape that they love to go to or that they saw on vacation at one time. As Stein mentioned, there were no wrong answers, this was just a way to start thinking about the types of landscapes we like to see and/or how they are in our everyday life. While landscape artwork over the years has changed in many different ways, so has our physical landscape as well. 

It is programs like these that really bring important conversations to light. For more information on any upcoming events that the DTL is hosting, please visit their website at

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