A new book on the art and life of sculptor Daniel Chester French

Bruce Weber Books

The most in-depth biography of the pre-eminent American sculptor Daniel Chester French (1850-1931) is now out. French—whose works include the statues of the Minute Man in Concord, Massachusetts, and Alma Mater at Columbia University in New York—has long deserved a comprehensive exploration, and historian Harold Holzer’s Monument Man: The Life and Art of Daniel Chester French (Princeton Architectural Press, $35) has been eagerly anticipated.

Republic of Taste: Art, Politics, and Everyday Life in Early America by Catherine E. Kelly

Elizabeth Pochoda Books

Artists and writers in eighteenth-century America, eager to craft a democratic culture distinct from that of Europe, but nonetheless notable for its refinement, elevated the idea of “taste” as an index of character and national virtue. This was not a populist project, but it reached into everyday life through the efforts of the people Catherine Kelly calls “aesthetic entrepreneurs,” who painted portraits, disseminated prints, opened museums, and produced banners and memorabilia to draw the multitudes into a patriotic festival of right-minded taste.