Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School
Drawn entirely from the premier collection of The New-York Historical Society, Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School features approximately forty-five outstanding American landscape paintings from the nineteenth-century. Among the artists represented in the exhibition are the heroes of the American landscape movement: Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, and Albert Bierstadt, among others. Also included are lesser-known artists, some of whom helped the American landscape achieve recognition through the new democratic medium of prints and portfolios.
Arranged thematically by place, the exhibition is designed as a grand tour of the American landscape. The full range of the exhibition demonstrates that the movement extends beyond the Hudson River, with work by artists who reflect both realistic and romantic attitudes toward nature in scenes of New England, the American West, South America, and even the Arctic.
The exhibition culminates with Thomas Cole’s masterpiece, the five large-scale paintings that constitute The Course of Empire (1834–36), a visual feast and meditation about civilization and the potential challenges facing the young country.
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Images: Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire: The Consummation of Empire, 1836, Oil on canvas, 51 1/4 x 76 in. New-York Historical Society, Gift of The New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts, 1858.3. Asher Brown Durand, White Mountain Scenery, Franconia Notch, New Hampshire, 1857, Oil on canvas, 48 1/4 x 72 1/2 in. New-York Historical Society, The Robert L. Stuart Collection, S-105.