The Domestic Dreams of an American Orientalist: The Harem Fountain
My paper about The American Orientalist painter Bridgman shows how he uses the North African idea of the harem in his work The Harem Fountain to promote the ideal for American women of domesticity. His positive approach to orientalism differs from the usual French way of painting orientalist pictures. Bridgman's work is interpreted through 8 different aesthetic methodologies. These interpretations are formalist, iconographic, socio-economic, feminist, psychoanalytic, biographical, structuralist and poststructuralist methodologies. The shift in American Orientalism from the more French model of orientalism shows how this American painter respects the harem as a model for American women. Each methodology reinforces the others to interpret the richness of Bridgman’s painting The Harem Fountain.
Keywords: American Orientalism, Domesticity, Different Aesthetic Interpretations
Dr. John F. Quinn
Full Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Dayton