Mastery of the human form was critical to the success of an American artist in the 19th century. For many decades American artists lagged behind their European counterparts because of inadequate training in art school. Many felt that they not only lacked the skill to represent the anatomy but also there was no local audience to appreciate the subject matter. Noted Rhode Island artists such as Charles Walter Stetson critiqued his early work for, “my weak modeling and my lack of grace are quite apparent, ...” (1879). With the founding of Rhode Island School of Design in 1878, classroom art instruction significantly improved and so did the excellence of the figure by regional artists. A fine sampling of the development of figure drawing and evolving trends in figurative rendering is found in this gallery section.