The Poetry of Nature: A Golden Age of American Landscape Painting

March 19, 2016 - June 12, 2016
Niagara Falls

Louisa Davis Minot (1788-1858). Niagara Falls, 1818. Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 5/8 in. Collection of the New-York Historical Society, Gift Mrs. Waldron Phoenix Belknap, Sr., to the Waldron Phoenix Belknap, Jr., Collection. 1956.3

Morning in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Va.

William Louis Sonntag (1822-1900). Morning in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Va., ca. 1858. Oil on canvas, 36 x 56 in. Collection of the New-York Historical Society, The Robert L. Stuart Collection, the gift of his widow Mrs. Mary Stuart. S-107

Autumn Woods

Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902). Autumn Woods, 1886. Oil on linen, 54 x 84 in. Collection of the New-York Historical Society, Gift of Mrs. Albert Bierstadt. 1910.11

River Scene

John William Casilear (1811-1893). River Scene, Catskill, 1861. Oil on canvas, 15 x 12 in. Collection of the New-York Historical Society, The Robert L. Stuart Collection, the gift of his widow Mrs. Mary Stuart. S-4

Catskill Clove

Asher Brown Durand (1796-1886). Catskill Clove, N.Y., 1864. Oil on canvas, 15 x 24 in. Collection of the New-York Historical Society, Gift of Nora Durand Woodman. 1932.14

Thomas Cole painting

Thomas Cole (1801-1848), Sunset, View on the Catskill, 1833, Oil on wood panel, 25 1/4 x 33 3/8’’, New-York Historical Society Museum & Library, Gift of The New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts, 1858.44

Masterworks by Thomas Cole, Asher Durand, John F. Kensett, William T. Richards, William L. Sonntag, and other giants of the Hudson River School were on view at the Brandywine River Museum of Art from March 19 through June 12, 2016. Organized by the New-York Historical Society from its vast holdings of works by the Hudson River School, the exhibition featured over 40 paintings created between 1818 and 1886. 

More than 25 celebrated American artists, including Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Chambers, Sanford Gifford, Thomas H. Hotchkiss, Jervis McEntee, Louisa Minot, Francis A. Silva and Josephine Walters, were represented in the exhibition. The Hudson River School is considered the first art movement in the United States and one that developed a distinctly American vision of the landscape. These artists were inspired to explore the landscape by the writers of their time whose stories, essays and poems extolled the pristine, primeval quality and symbolic virtue of America’s natural beauty. Hudson River artists’ powerful interpretations of American scenery were illuminated in the exhibition’s arrangement highlighting the regions they frequently painted—along the Hudson River, through the Catskill Mountains and other regions of New York, and beyond to New England and the mid-Atlantic states. The boundless vistas, stately forests, magnificent mountains, gleaming rivers and lakes, and luminous skies the Hudson River School artists created in their paintings shaped national and cultural identity not only for their own time but also formed an enduring legacy for future generations.

This exhibition was organized by the New-York Historical Society.

Support for this exhibition was provided by Freeman’s and Hudson Valley Tourism, Inc.