The Ashcan School and Camden Town Group Comparative Project

The project is a co-operation between the Centre for American Art at The Courtauld the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and Bowdoin’s Art History department. It aims to investigate parallels and differences between the Ashcan School in the US and the Camden Town Group in London. The two groups were active in the early years of the twentieth century and took as their subject matter the world cities of London and New York, the landscapes of the suburbs and beyond, and the experience of modern life at pivotal moment for both societies. The project encompasses research, teaching at undergraduate and graduate levels, and plans for a comparative exhibition.


On November 20, 2020, a group of UK and US academics and curators met virtually to discuss their main areas of scholarly interest and highlight points of comparison. The discussion helped focus the current state of scholarship on the Camden Town Group and the Ashcan School, and began to assess the similarities and differences between them, defined some of the key issues, and considered the broader implications of their practices in order to understand how a comparative exhibition project might fit into current concerns and scholarly preoccupations. Particular attention was paid to the works of art at the center of scholarship as the project advances into the next stage. The exhibition will consider both who the Ashcan School and Camden Town Group were and what they mean with respect to the discipline, the museum, and the public today.

A recording of the event can be found below.

This Spring, an advanced level seminar course based on this comparison and entitled “Transatlantic Modernisms,” will be taught by Pamela Fletcher at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine with contributions from David Peters Corbett and his MA students on the option “New York-London-Paris, 1880-19140” at The Courtauld.

We invite contact from scholars and advanced students who would be interested in contributing to future symposia, seminars, and conferences hosted by the project. Please write to the project organisers at the following email addresses: 

David Peters Corbett, Professor of American Art and Director of the Centre for American Art, The Courtauld –

Anne Collins Goodyear, Co-Director, Bowdoin College Museum of Art –

Pamela Fletcher, Professor of Art History, Bowdoin College –

Kelsey Gallagher, The Courtauld Institute MA 2020, Bowdoin College BA 2017 –


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