Most of the reading for this book was done in the McKim Building of the Boston Public Library, and it is to that noble institution that I am chiefly indebted. In the course of several years I was courteously and efficiently aided by the professional staff in Bates Hall, where I sat near the bust of Henry James, and in the Art Reference Library, where both the Medici Venus and the Venus of Canova kept me company along with William Wetmore Story’s Arcadian Shepherd Boy, made in Rome. To take a breather in the library’s sunny arcaded courtyard was to bring very close the subject of the books I was reading. An equally sympathetic environment was frequently found in the Boston Athenaeum, whose rare volumes are not too jealously guarded by a friendly staff and more Venuses. To the people in both of these libraries I extend my thanks.
I am grateful for the work of scholars who have explored the realm of my interest before me—especially for books by Van Wyck Brooks, Nathalia Wright, and Paul Baker, who mapped out much of the territory. But my indebtedness in volume I is even greater to those art historians, chiefly Wayne Craven and William Gerdts, whose herculean labors to establish the primary facts about nineteenth-century American sculpture and painting have established the historical foundations that make other commentary possible. My reliance on these scholars, and on other authors who have researched primary sources to write monographs on individual artists, has been extensive; specific cases of indebtedness I have tried to acknowledge in the notes and bibliography, an inadequate indication of the general value I have found in their work. Professors Craven and Gerdts also kindly responded to particular inquiries, as did Regina Soria, whose invaluable dictionary of American artists in Italy was not available until very late in my work, but whose long immersion in the life of Elihu Vedder in Rome had been an inspiration to me.
Peter Blume, Paul Cadmus, and Jack Levine beautifully replied to questions about their paintings, and I am very grateful to them. To the painter Alfred Russell and his wife, Joan, I owe a memorable and instructive evening of conversation over wine and cheese in their flat at the Chelsea Hotel.
Several colleagues and friends have read portions of the manuscript in its earlier stages. For their criticism and encouragement I wish to thank John Malcolm Brinnin, George Landow, Naomi Miller, Roger Stein, and Helen Vendler. To Trevor J. Fairbrother I am especially indebted; he took an active interest in my project from its inception, passing on useful information and advice, showing me Sargents in storage, and giving my long essay on the Campagna a careful reading that greatly helped. Barton Levi St. Armand, of Brown University, wonderfully demonstrated how scholars can become friends without ever meeting; his incisive and sympathetic commentaries upon three of a stranger’s drafted chapters displayed a generosity of spirit far beyond mere professional courtesy. At Boston University, a colleague in another department became a friend through the interest that he took in my book; it is impossible to overstate how much Fred Licht’s enthusiastic response to the several hundred pages I imposed upon him meant to me—it provided the reassurance that saw me through to the end.
Many other people have my gratitude for contributions of various kinds. Among the countless blessings I have received from the friendship of my colleague Gerald P. Fitzgerald, an increase in my knowledge of Rome and in the ways of loving it is one of the more inestimable. Friends in Rome, to whom the book is dedicated, have sustained my work by changing their city from a place observed to a place of domestic intimacy, a second home. In Rome I am also indebted to Alessandra Pinto Surdi, chief librarian of the Centro di Studi Americani; the personal interest she took in my work made me the beneficiary of her energy, wit, and generosity. Professor Andrea Mariani of the University of Rome, who not only volunteered bibliographical suggestions but went far out of his way to assist me in the acquisition of photographs, is another friend whom I gained through my studies. At the library of the American Academy in Rome I was given generous access to interesting documents. In Boston I received gracious help from Carol Troyen of the Museum of Fine Arts, from Roger Howlett at the Childs Gallery, and from Howard Gotlieb, director of special collections at the Mugar Memorial Library of Boston University.
To the more than eighty individuals and institutions that have supplied me with photographs of artworks in their possession and permission to reproduce them, I extend my sincere thanks. Although the care and time of many people were involved in the process of locating works and assembling the photographs, I must mention in particular Patricia C. Geeson of the Office of Research Support at the National Museum of American Art (Smithsonian Institution). The project was also facilitated by the cheerful help of Barbara Gage Coogan, whose assistance was made possible by a grant from Boston University’s Humanities Foundation, to which I wish to express my appreciation. Bobbi Coogan also applied her editorial skills to a wonderfully enthusiastic and attentive reading of the manuscript. Further contributions toward the cost of manuscript preparation were made by Boston University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, for which I am grateful to Deans Michael Mendillo and William C. Carroll.
My thanks for help in particular ways go also to Warren Adelson, Rodney Armstrong, James M. Dennis, Gianfranco Grande, Gerald Gross, Jonathan P. Harding, Donald Kelley, Harriet Lane, Lynne Lawner, Thomas W. Leavitt, David Garrard Lowe, John Matthews, Judy Metro, Richard Ormond, Marlene Park, Jan Seidler Ramirez, Linda Smith Rhoads, Deborah Rosenthal, Judithe Speidel, and Theodore E. Stebbins. I was fortunate to have as my copy editor a most sympathetic and sharp-eyed reader, Cecile Watters.
To Charles W. Pierce, Jr., the first reader of all these pages, I owe a debt beyond words.