THE THIRD PERIOD in American art began immediately after the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia in 1876. Undoubtedly the display of art, both foreign and domestic, at that time, together with the national prosperity and great growth of the United States had much to do with stimulating activity in painting. Many young men at the beginning of this period went to Europe to study in the studios at Munich, and later on at Paris. Before 1880 some of them had returned to the United States, bringing with them knowledge of the technical side of art, which they immediately began to give out to many pupils. Gradually the influence of the young men from Munich and Paris spread. The Art Students' League, founded in 1875, was incorporated in 1878, and the Society of American Artists was established in the same year. Societies and painters began to spring up all over the country, and as a result there is in the United States to-day an artist body technically as well trained and in spirit as progressive as in almost any country of Europe. The late influence shown in painting has been largely a French influence, and the American artists have been accused from time to time of echoing French methods. The accusation is true in part. Paris is the centre of all art-teaching to-day, and the Americans, in common with the European nations, accept French methods, not because they are French, but because they are the best extant. In subjects and motives, however, the American school is as original as any school can be in this cosmopolitan age.

PORTRAIT, FIGURE, AND GENRE PAINTERS (1878-1894): It must not be inferred that the painters now prominent in American art are all young men schooled since 1876. On the contrary, some of the best of them are men past middle life who began painting long before 1876, and have by dint of observation and prolonged study continued with the modern spirit. For example, Winslow Homer (1836-) is one of the strongest and most original of all the American artists, a man who never had the advantage of the highest technical training, yet possesses a feeling for color, a dash and verve in execution, an originality in subject, and an individuality of conception that are unsurpassed. Eastman Johnson (1824-) is one of the older portrait and figure-painters who stands among the younger generations without jostling, because he has in measure kept himself informed with modern thought and method. He is a good, conservative painter, possessed of taste, judgment, and technical ability. Elihu Vedder (1836-) is more of a draughtsman than a brushman. His color-sense is not acute nor his handling free, but he has an imagination which, if somewhat more literary than pictorial, is nevertheless very effective. John La Farge (1835-) and Albert Ryder (1847-) are both colorists, and La Farge in artistic feeling is a man of much power. Almost all of his pictures have fine decorative quality in line and color and are thoroughly pictorial.