Volume 20, Issue 3 | Autumn 2021

Editors’ Welcome

Welcome to volume 20, issue 3. Indeed, issue 3, because this year, once again, we featured a special summer issue funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art and edited by Isabel Taube. Its subject, “The Ambient Interior in the United States during the Long Nineteenth Century,” is discussed in three diverse contexts: a famous artist’s house, the dining room of a wealthy family, and the art gallery of a well-known dealer.

Our autumn issue brings two innovations. One is a new section, called “Practicing Art History,” in which art historians discuss old and new issues they encounter in pursuing art historical research and writing. More details are found in the introduction to that section.

Another novelty is the contribution to our ongoing series, American Art History Digitally, sponsored by the Terra Foundation for American Art. It is not a traditional art historical article, but a work of digital art created by a contemporary female artist and inspired by botanical and animal art by women artists of the past, many working in the nineteenth century. This iteration of Emma Steinkraus’s Impossible Garden, especially produced for NCAW, shows how a contemporary artist engages and interfaces with the past in rich and meaningful ways. Steinkraus discusses some of the thinking behind her work in an interview conducted by Carey Gibbons, in which she explains, among other things, the connection she feels with the women who produced the works that she has incorporated into her digital garden landscape.

Some of the innovations you see in this issue, and will see in subsequent ones, were recommended by the members of our editorial advisory board, who, henceforth, will play a more active role in the make-up and content of the journal. Their names can be found by clicking About on NCAW’s landing page. We attribute their increased involvement to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made us realize that we don’t have to be in the same place to meet. Through Zoom, we brought our (international) board together for the first time in a meeting that was both stimulating and productive. We plan to make our meetings regular events.

We had hoped that we would no longer need to mention the pandemic in our autumn issue’s welcome, but, alas, we were too optimistic. We wish you well. Stay healthy; stay safe.