Great Artists of America Critical Context - Essay

Lillian Freedgood

Critical Context

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Freedgood’s topic is a traditionally popular one, particularly for students studying or interested in painting and the personalities of painters. Because the artists who are represented come from a wide array of backgrounds and from a variety of states across the country, teenage readers may be interested in the effect of cultural aspects on artistic works. Freedgood presents these “great American artists” as true individuals willing to adapt their heritages and values in order to attain their goals. They did not lose sight of their visions or sacrifice their artistic integrity for financial gain.

Freedgood has done an excellent job of looking into history and finding individuals whose stories would have been interesting even if they had not been famous. These artists, who are all admirable but not always likable, are real people with whom young adults can identify immediately, as these protagonists react exactly as the readers might in the same situations. The collection of biographies also provides readers with a desire to know more, as collective biographies generally must leave much to the imagination.

Great Artists of America serves as a valuable educational tool, particularly to those who are involved in scholarly endeavors in this field. Freedgood has provided teenage readers with information that is accurate and objective while using realism and a tone of respect and admiration. This biography re-creates important but ordinary events and openly shares the emotions of the individuals involved.