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American Scenery: Different Views in Hudson River School Painting

Founders Gallery • Oct 2010 - Jan 2011

Organized and toured by Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, American Scenery: Different Views in Hudson River School Paintings at the MSV marked the first time that works from one of the most prestigious private collections of Hudson River School paintings were on view to the public in Virginia. The Hudson River School was considered by many to be the first truly American school of painting and the movement, which was actually not geographically confined to the Hudson River region, celebrated the vast natural resources of the American landscape at a time its artists were witnessing the onslaught of industrialization that threatened it.

Among the 33 artists represented in this condensed version of the larger exhibition were Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church, John Frederick Kensett, Jasper Francis Cropsey, Asher B. Durand, and John William Casilear. In this engaging presentation, the landscape paintings were grouped by pairs or arranged in a series to illustrate how the different generations of Hudson River School artists interpreted the majestic American landscape in the 1800s. The paintings were grouped into nine categories, or sections, which included, among other themes, times of the day, weather conditions, and seasons. Interspersed with paintings, lines of prose and poetry by Edgar Allen Poe, Walt Whitman, Washington Irving, William Cullen Bryant, and others show how writers of the time were also intrigued by the theme of nature’s majesty.

Three artists represented in American Scenery—Jasper Francis Cropsey, Martin Johnson Heade, and John Frederick Kensett—are also represented in the Julian Wood Glass Jr. Collection.