Archive for the ‘Hudson River School’ Category

This post comes to us from Rena Tobey, Curatorial Intern.

The long summer days are here, and your thoughts may have turned to spending some time in nature, sketchbook in hand.  Another alternative is to visit the Henry & Sharon Martin Gallery at the Museum.  Here, you can immerse in nature as close by as New Haven and as far away as the California.

In the 1800s, the Hudson River School artists traveled to their favorite scenic spots in the Catskill, Adirondack Mountains and beyond, seeking out the same scenery we enjoy today.  Over the winter months in their studios, they transformed their sketches into luminous landscapes that had come to represent America and its abundant natural resources.

Thomas Cole, the founding father of the Hudson River School, imbues the land with even more power.  He inserted symbols and figures that represented philosophical ideas he hoped would sway his viewers’ beliefs and actions.

Cole came to the United States at 17 from industrialized England.  He knew first-hand how modernization and urbanization could devastate open space and pollute cities.  When he made his first trip up New York’s Hudson River in 1825, he was awed by the vast beauty of the land that was on the cusp of change.  He believed Americans were at a decision-point.  What would the future be like in this land?

What the artist actually saw and what he chose to paint present the different choices.  In 1807, the steamboat was invented, changing the navigation of rivers.  Now, timetables, not the wind and tides, dictated travel.  Maybe you’ve taken a daytrip during the weekend to break the routine of your life.  Two hundred years ago, people were no different.  They seized the opportunity to get out of New York City and into nature—for a picnic, a stroll in the woods—and still get back home the same day.

The Clove, Catskills, 1826.  Thomas Cole (1801-1848).  Oil on canvas, 25 ¼ x 35 1/8 in.  Charles F. Smith Fund, 1945.22.

Thomas Cole (1801-1848), The Clove, Catskills, 1826, Oil on canvas, 25 ¼ x 35 1/8 in. Charles F. Smith Fund, 1945.22.


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This post comes to us from Alexandra Torbick, Curatorial Intern.

West Rock Branches, 2012. Valerie Hegarty (b. 1967). Wood, wire, epoxy, archival print on canvas, acrylic paint, gel mediums, sand, glue, hardware. 65 x 48 x 11 in. Paul W. Zimmerman Purchase Fund.

Appropriation, the act of direct duplication, copying or incorporation of an image (painting, photograph, etc) by another artist[1], has been endogenous within the art world since antiquity, especially in the times of the Roman Empire. Using Greek bronze sculptures as their guide, the Romans took figures and recreated them, appropriating the Greek deities’ images as their own gods and goddesses. This reconstruction of meaning is what truly defines “appropriation.” Represented in a different context, the signification of the original image is altered, thereby initiating a flurry of questions revolving around the ideas of originality and authenticity. 1


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Thomas Cole  - The Clove, Catskills

The Clove, Catskills, 1826. Thomas Cole (1801-1848). Oil on canvas, 25 1/4 x 35 1/8 in. New Britain Museum of American Art, Charles F. Smith Fund.

As the year slowly comes to a close we begin to experience the last hints of autumn as winter settles in. The cool crisp air, the changing leaves, the ripe apples, pumpkins, and seasonal holidays are all upon us. We also begin to see the changes in landscape. Autumn brings a variety of color out of nature that has inspired artists for centureis, especially the artists of the Hudson River School.

Reds, greens, browns, blues, pinks, and oranges are frequently found in their landscapes. The sensation of hiking through a mountain, walking on a trail, having a picnic with friends, and being outside for the last time before the bitterness of winter hits is often captured in these Hudson River masters’ artworks. (more…)

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Millstone Point. William Chadwick (1879-1962). Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 in. Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin.

The NBMAA is currently showing American Reflections: The Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin in the Davis Gallery. This private collection is composed of a wide variety of local and regional subject matter. The exhibition is a focused view of Dr. McLaughlin’s collection of landscape paintings from the mid 19th to early 20th century. Following are several highlights of the exhibition.

The artistic heritage of Connecticut is rich and deep. Portraitists and limners earned a living here in colonial times. The nineteenth century saw the advent of history painting and landscape painting. A number of Hudson River School artists came from the state, lived here, or worked here. American Impressionism was embraced very early by painters in the artists’ colonies of Cos Cob and Old Lyme. (more…)

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Asher Brown Durand - Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning, 1860. Asher B. Durand (1796-1886). Oil on canvas on wood paneled stretcher, 28 1/8 x 42 1/8 in. (39 x 53 4 3/4 in. framed). Charles F. Smith Fund, 1963.04, New Britain Museum of American Art.

Thomas Cole, Asher Durand, Fitz Henry Lane, William Bradford, and John Kensett are all renowned landscape artists. Thomas Cole was a founding father of the Hudson River School. He created beautiful and dramatic landscapes by utilizing light and shadow. Cole grew up in England, and  lived near textile mills where there was a lot of pollution, yet he was a romantic man who loved poetry and reading about America. Not long after falling in love with America, Cole and his family moved to Ohio. It was here that he met a fellow traveler who taught him how to paint. From that point on, Cole was inspired by the wilderness and nature and his deep imagination helped him create his paintings. Many of these artworks are now considered masterpieces of American art. (more…)

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Wreck of the “Roma” (Ship Wreck off the New England Coast; Ship “Roma” in Distress; The Wreck of the Ship “Roma”), 1846. Fitz Hugh Lane (1804–1865). Oil on canvas, 17 7/8 x 27 in. New Britain Museum of American Art, Lehman Foundation, Alix W. Stanley Fund, Stephen B. Lawrence Fund, and Mr. Richard Weed, 1978.56.

The Hudson River School artists  paved the way for the movements known as Luminism and Epic Landscape. In contrast to the painters of the Hudson River School, the Luminists focused on landscapes that were less romantic and more concerned with detailed forms defined by light. Fitz Hugh Lane (1804-1865), Thomas Worthington Whittredge (1820-1910), and Martin Johnson Heade (1819-1904) produced landscapes and seascapes in which the sky usually occupied at least half of the composition. They applied paint in such a way that brushstrokes are not visible. The Luminist landscapes and seascapes are ordered, calm, and tranquil, unlike the pictures of their Hudson River predecessors. (more…)

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The Clove, Catskills, ca. 1826. Thomas Cole (1801–1848). Oil on canvas, 25 1/4 x 35 1/8 in. New Britain Museum of American Art, Charles F. Smith Fund, 1945.22.

The Hudson River School was not an actual school but a group of like-minded landscape painters who worked in a similar style from about 1825 to 1865. The growing number of crowded industrial cities in the East gave rise to an appreciation for pictures of the landscape untouched by man. The movement was fueled by the poetry of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) and by the conviction that God had given the American people an abundance of natural resources as a source of wealth and prosperity. (more…)

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The Parthenon, 1871. Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900). Oil on Canvas, 44 1/2 x 72 5/8 in. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, bequest of Maria DeWitt Jesup, from the collection of her husband, Morris K. Jesup, 1914.

When looking at Frederick Edwin Church’s painting The Parthenon, one is reminded of the fact that artists have used other works of art as subject matter for several centuries. The Parthenon is part of seven masterpieces from the Metropolitan Museum of  Art on view until September 2010 at the New Britain Museum of American Art.

The Arch of Constantine with the Collosseum in the Background, ca 1742 – 45. Giovanni Antonio Canal (called Canaletto) (1697-1768). Oil on canvas, 32 1/4 x 48 in. Getty Center, 70.PA.52.

During the Grand Tour era, many Grand tourists would buy paintings by artists like Canaletto. He was famous for his views or vedute of Venice and is said to have used a camera obscura to achieve accurate perspectives in his paintings, yet he would often change his sketches corresponding to his own artistic vision. This can be seen in his painting of the Collosseum where he moved the arch of Constantine so that a beautifully framed view of the Collosseum is created. (more…)

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The New Britain Museum of American Art is pleased to announce a very exciting collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Six Hudson River School paintings from the Metropolitan’s American Paintings and Sculpture Department and one by the leading 19th -century genre painter Winslow Homer (1836-1910) will be on view in the New Britain Museum’s Henry and Sharon Martin Gallery from March 13, 2009 through September 2010. Examples by Frederic Church (1826-1900), Asher B. Durand (1796-1886), George Inness (1825-1894) and John Frederick Kensett (1816-1872) are represented along with the Homer.


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