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This volume brings together a selection of essays by one of the leading scholars of American art. Matthew Baigell examines the work of a variety of artists, including Edward Hopper, Thomas Hart Benton, Ben Shahn, and Frank Stella, relating their art works closely to the social and cultural contexts in which they were created. Identifying important and recurring themes in this body of art, such as the persistence of Emersonian values, the search for national and regional identity, aspects of alienation, and the loss of individuality, he also explores the personal and religious identities of artists as revealed in their works. Collectively, Baigell’s work demonstrates the importance of America as the defining element in American art.