Boise Art Museum

Boise, ID



Mountain Majesty: The Art of John Fery

December 3, 1998 - January 31, 1999


Boise Art Museum presents Mountain Majesty, the first traveling exhibition of paintings by American Western landscape artist John Fery. Many of the thirty-five paintings included the exhibition are on loan from private collections and have not previously been seen by the public.

John Fery (1859-1934) was born in Austria into privileged circumstances. He studied painting in Vienna, Munich and Dusseldorf. In 1883 he was recruited by the American Panorama Company to work in Milwaukee, only to return shortly to Europe. In 1886 he traveled again to America with his wife and child and began making extended trips to the West to paint the magnificent scenery and abundant wildlife of the Rocky Mountains region.

In 1910 Louis Hill, president of Great Northern Railway, hired Fery to paint vast panoramic landscapes depicting Glacier National Park. Hill used these paintings as part of the "See America First" campaign which extolled the natural wonders of the pristine mountain wilderness and encouraged people to travel on his railway and stay in his hotels and lodges. From 1910 to 1913, Fery completed an astounding 347 paintings for Great Northern, ranging in size from 40 x 40 inches to 48 x 192 inches. Company records in 1913 itemizing Fery's salary, supplies and rent indicate an average cost to Great Northern of $31.70 per painting.

For the remainder of his life Fery continued to paint the mountain wilderness of the West for both commission and his own enjoyment. Through Fery's life-long commitment to exploring and painting the impressive landscape of the West, he joins a group of renowned painters of the West like Thomas Moran , Albert Bierstadt, and Thomas Hill, who not only greatly contributed to the cultural heritage of the American West, but also inspired pwblic awareness and concern for the preservation of America's wilderness.

Mountain Majesty: The Art of John Fery has been assembled by William P. Healey of Santa Barbara, California, and John B. Fery of Boise, the artist's grandson. This exhibition includes works from their and other private collections and from the collections of the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway and the National Museum of Wildlife Art . A full-color catalog which illustrates all thirty-five works in the exhibition and features an essay by Don Hedgpeth, is available in The Museum Store.

Also see our article Wildling Museum Acquires Fery Painting.


Read more in Resource Library Magazine about the Boise Art Museum.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 8/24/10

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