American Renaissance painted decor: gilded stencilling on an olive green ground in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy in the Executive Office Building, 1879 (now the Vice President's Ceremonial Office)
In the history of American architecture and the arts, the American Renaissance was the period ca 1876 1917  characterized by renewed national self-confidence and a feeling that the United States was the heir to Greek democracy, Roman law, and Renaissance humanism. The American preoccupation with national identity (or nationalism) in this period was expressed by modernism and technology as well as academic classicism. It expressed its self-confidence in new technologies, such as the wire cables of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. It found its cultural outlets in both Prairie School houses and in Beaux-Arts architecture and sculpture, in the "City Beautiful" movement, and "also the creation of the American empire.". Americans felt that their civilization was uniquely the modern heir, and that it had come of age. Politically and economically, this era coincides with the Gilded Age and the New Imperialism.
Ennobled currency: The central vignette of the US$2 bill, Series 1896: Blashfield's Science presents Steam and Electricity to Commerce and Manufacture.
The World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893 was a demonstration that impressed Henry Adams, who was of the mind that in the future people would talk about Hunt and Richardson, La Farge and Saint-Gaudens, Burnham and McKim and Stanford White when their politicians and millionaires were quite forgotten. (The Education of Henry Adams http://www.classicreader.com/Adams_Henry/Education_of_Henry_Adams/23.html).
In the dome of the reading room at the new Library of Congress, Edwin Blashfield's murals were on the given theme, The Progress of Civilization.
The exhibition American Renaissance: 1876 1917 at the Brooklyn Museum, 1979, encouraged the revival of interest in this movement.
- Howard Mumford Jones, "The Renaissance and American origins," Ideas in America 1945.
- Richard Guy Wilson, "The great civilization", forward essay to The American Renaissance 1876 1917. Exhibition catalogue, The Brooklyn Museum, 1979 1980.
- Henry Hope Reed, The Golden City, (New York: Norton Library) 1971, Ch. 3:"The American contribution" pp 62 98.
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