regionalism(redirected from regionalist)
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(1) A movement in American painting of the 1930’s. The regionalists, following in the traditions of C. Sheeler and C. Burchfield, addressed themselves specifically to American subjects and scenes. Their works combined elements of American primitivism, expressionism, and, especially, the German Neue Sachlichkeit movement. Depicting characteristic American landscapes and scenes from the history and daily life of the United States, the regionalists sought a literal, extremely detailed reproduction of reality. At the same time, their forms were extremely, if not excessively, expressive (as seen in the works of T. H. Benton and J. S. Curry), or they were coldly abstract and static (as seen in the work of G. Wood). Conservative nationalism and defense of the “American way of life” were combined paradoxically with social criticism and with caustic irony directed against philistinism.
(2) A term often used to designate various movements in 20th-century architecture that are marked by the adoption of local architectural traditions (ancient or folk) and that take into account as fully as possible the local natural and climatic conditions.