Americana art isn’t just about patriotic flags and prints of Uncle Sam. It is a unique slice of the American experience. The term is used to categorize many different images that reflect the charm and nostalgia of America’s past. It evokes a sense of patriotism and reflects the history, traditions, folklore, artifacts and culture of the United States.

Well known are the paintings and illustrations of rural life and street life, farms and factories, workers and families by artists such as Norman Rockwell, Edward Hopper and Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma”  Moses.

Though many artworks can be labeled Americana, its most original form is traditional folk art. Many paintings were executed by self-taught artists who would paint family portraits, scenes of the rural landscape, or still-life paintings of everyday utilitarian ware.

This collection includes an array of current exhibitions, sculptures and paintings that span back to the 19th century. Subjects range from U.S. presidents and the Civil War to Hudson River landscapes and birds of America—a mix as diverse as America itself.

Watch the special NYC-ARTS Presidents Day episode for more.

    American Identities: A New Look

    Brooklyn Museum



    This major installation of more than 350 objects from the Brooklyn Museum's premier collection of American art integrates a vast array of fine and decorative arts (silver, furniture, ceramics, and textiles) ranging in date from the colonial period to the present.

    Private: Artist and Visionary: William Matthew Prior Revealed

    American Folk Art Museum


    Thu, Jan 24, 2013 - Sun, May 26, 2013

    Organized by the Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, this exhibition includes more than 40 oil paintings spanning William Matthew Prior’s career from 1824 to 1856. Through his pragmatic marketing strategy, Prior was able to document the faces of middle-class Americans throughout his lifetime, making art accessible to a previously overlooked group.

    Private: …As Apple Pie

    Whitney Museum of American Art


    Thu, Aug 23, 2012 - Sun, Jun 09, 2013

    Images, like words, can trigger a cultural or emotional response to a shared national ethos. Artists have employed images—sometimes straightforwardly, often obliquely—in order to comment on a country, its people, its political or social goals, and its self-image. This exhibition explores this phenomenon through a rotating installation, drawn from the Whitney’s collection of works on paper.

    Private: The Civil War and American Art

    Metropolitan Museum of Art


    Mon, May 27, 2013 - Mon, Sep 02, 2013

    This major loan exhibition considers how American artists responded to the Civil War and its aftermath. Landscapes and genre scenes—more than traditional history paintings—captured the war's impact on the American psyche.

    Private: Compass: Folk Art in Four Directions

    Seaport Museum New York


    Wed, Jun 20, 2012 - Sun, Oct 07, 2012

    The exhibition “Compass: Folk Art in Four Directions,” organized by the American Folk Art Museum, encompasses the rich history of New York City’s harbor activities and urban environment. Through lively sampling of artworks, the collection speaks about the romanticism and gritty realism of the seaport district.

    Private: Currier & Ives and Other Winter Tales

    Museum of the City of New York


    Sat, Dec 15, 2012 - Sun, Mar 31, 2013

    New York printmakers Currier & Ives’ iconic winter scenes of skaters in Central Park, along with bucolic scenes of snow-covered small-town life, became the standard imagery for the American holiday season. This exhibition presents highlights from the museum’s exceptional collection.

    Private: George Bellows

    Metropolitan Museum of Art


    Thu, Nov 15, 2012 - Sun, Feb 17, 2013

    George Bellows (1882–1925) was regarded as one of America’s greatest artists when he died, at the age of 42, from a ruptured appendix. His early fame rested on his powerful depictions of boxing matches and gritty scenes of New York City’s tenement life, but he also painted cityscapes, seascapes, war scenes, and portraits, and made illustrations and lithographs that addressed many of the social, political, and cultural issues of the day.

    Morris-Jumel Mansion

    One of the city's few remaining pre-Revolutionary buildings, the Morris Jumel Mansion served as George Washington's headquarters for the Continental Army and the American war room for the Battle of Harlem Heights.

    Tiffany: The Glass

    Queens Museum



    Taking a close look at the patterns, textures and colors of glass used by the Tiffany Studios overseen by Louis Comfort Tiffany, the exhibition highlights some of the most commonly used types of sheet glass produced at the Tiffany Furnaces in Corona, Queens and also includes two windows and eleven lampshades.

    Private: Women’s Studies

    American Folk Art Museum


    Thu, Jan 24, 2013 - Sun, May 26, 2013

    This exhibition presents drawings and photographs of women by four self-taught artists from the 1940s through the late 20th century, two male, two female. Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, Paul D. Humphrey, Nellie Mae Rowe, and Inez Nathaniel Walker offer four very different approaches that raise questions of intent, portrayal, and self-identity:

    Private: WWII & NYC

    New-York Historical Society


    Fri, Oct 05, 2012 - Mon, May 27, 2013

    This exhibition explores the impact of the war on the metropolis, which was a center of both isolationist and interventionist sentiment before the Pearl Harbor attack. The presence of troops, the inflow of refugees, the wartime industries, the dispatch of fleets, and the dissemination of news and propaganda from media outlets, changed New York, giving its customary commercial and creative bustle a military flavor.