The country and the city: John Bachmann’s views of Manhattan and Central Park

M Elen Deming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Popular views of Manhattan and Central Park produced by the lithograph artist John Bachmann between 1849 and 1875 function both as commercial products and as ideological artifacts of the social history of the city. This paper compares Bachmann's work with that of his peers, based on John Reps's framework for the inventory and classification of American urban lithographs (Views and Viewmakers of Urban America 1984). Reps identifies two major nineteenth-century view types: the pictorial view, and the aerial perspective view, which seem to correspond to developmental characteristics of cities. Formal, social, and contextual analyses of Bachmann's lithographs challenge Reps's dual taxonomy, however, and suggest new research questions. In particular, Bachmann's formal innovations, which typically feature designed public landscapes in the foreground of all his urban views, suggest an unprecedented merger of the ideals of pastoralism and modernity in an American urban context. This study concludes that the visual marriage of the country and the city in Bachmann's popular imagery from the 1860s and '70s expresses a new civic attitude which anticipates the interest in modern utopian urbanism which was to emerge at the end of the nineteenth century.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-135
Number of pages25
JournalLandscape Journal
Issue number1/2
StatePublished - 2000


  • landscape
  • image
  • representation
  • painting
  • New York


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