An exhibition showcasing more than 45 19th century landscape paintings by Hudson River School artists is on display at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown.
“The Hudson River School: Nature and the American Vision” opened Saturday, June 29. Organized by the New York Historical Society, this s exhibition will run through Sept. 29.
The exhibition is part of a collaborative project with The Glimmerglass Festival, Hyde Hall and Olana State Historic Site, the home of Frederic Church. Each organization features programming related to the Hudson River School throughout the summer.
Celebrated masterpieces rarely seen on tour include Thomas Cole’s iconic series of five monumental landscapes, “The Course of Empire,” 1834-36. Other featured artists include Asher B. Durand, Frederic Edwin Church, John Frederick Kensett, George Inness, Jasper Francis Cropsey, Francis Augustus Silva, Sanford Robinson Gifford, Thomas Hill and Albert Bierstadt. Rising to eminence in New York during the mid-19th century, this loosely knit group of artists forged a self-consciously American landscape vision grounded in the exploration of the natural world as a resource for spiritual renewal and as an expression of cultural and national identity, according to a media release.
“‘Nature and the American Vision’ encapsulates some of the finest work of the Hudson River School artists,” said Fenimore Art Museum President and CEO Dr. Paul S. D’Ambrosio in the release. “These artists portrayed nature both as a divine force and as a symbol of national pride. Some works touch upon the subject of conservation and preservation, with imagery portraying the emergence of industrialization in 19th century America, a deliberate foreshadowing to warn of the potential environmental issues that could ultimately obliterate the country’s pristine nature.”
“The Hudson River School: Nature and the American Vision” tells this story through a series of themes, each contributing to the unifying narrative of nature and the American vision. Within these broad groupings, landscape imagery is also interpreted as a narrative device that embodies powerful ideas about nature, culture and history.