American 18-19th Century Landscape Painting



This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "American 18-19th Century Landscape Painting." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section. Clicking on titles takes readers directly to these articles and essays. The date at the end of each title is the Resource Library publication date.

After articles and essays from Resource Library are links to valuable online resources found outside our website. Links may be to museums' articles about exhibits, plus much more topical information based on our online searches. Following online resources may be information about offline resources including museums, DVDs, and paper-printed books, journals and articles.

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"No synonym for God is so perfect as Beauty. Whether as seen carving the lines of the mountains with glaciers, or gathering matter into stars, or planning the movements of water, or gardening -- still all is Beauty!" John Muir


(above: Thomas Hill, Great Canyon of the Sierra, Yosemite, 1872. Crocker Art Museum, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons*)


118 Resource Library articles and essays honoring the American experience through its art:


2006-2016 14

2004-2005 21

2003 15

2001-2002 19

1999-2000 33

1997-1998 16


 (above: William Stanley Haseltine, Cascade, 19th century, oil on panel,  61 cm (24 in) x 50.2 cm (19.7 in) .  Source: Wikimedia Commons - public domain)


From other websites:

American Beauty & Bounty: The Judith G. and Steaven K. Jones Collection of Nineteenth-Century Painting was an exhibition hosted by the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California from October 28, 2018 through January 27, 2019. The Museum described the exhibition as follows: "Judith and Steaven Jones began to acquire 19th-century American paintings in the late 1970s. This collection has grown to include 29 works that the Joneses will ultimately gift to the Crocker. Many are by Hudson River School painters, who focused on the landscape and pursued a highly polished, detailed technique. Key artists include first-generation practitioners Asher B. Durand and Thomas Doughty, as well as important landscape painters of the second generation, including Albert Bierstadt, Sanford Gifford, John Kensett, and Worthington Whittredge. The collection also includes meticulously rendered still-life paintings by artists such as Severin Roesen and William Michael Harnett, as well as scenes of American daily life by Eastman Johnson, Enoch Wood Perry, and others. Collectively, these paintings communicate a spirit of American optimism, of transcendental wonderment in nature, of national abundance, and of nostalgia for ways of life that, even as the scenes were being painted, seemed already to be passing". Accessed 9/23

American Views: Artists at Home and Abroad, an exhibit held November 10, 2012 to October 27, 2013 at the Parrish Art Museum, Accessed April, 2015.

America's Eden: Thomas Cole and The Voyage of Life, an exhibit held June 13, 2014-September 14, 2014 at the Taft Museum of Art. Includes Portico article. Accessed April, 2015.

An Artist with the Corps of Discovery: One Hundred Paintings Illustrating the Journals of Lewis and Clark was an exhibit held during Summer 2009 at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. The exhibit featured artwork of Charles Fritz. Accessed August, 2016.

Art Tours: Hudson River Valley Painters, by Kathleen L. Nichols, from Dr. Nichols' blog. Accessed May, 2014

Beauty & Bounty: American Art in an Age of Exploration, an exhibit held June 30 - September 11, 2011, 2011 - February 19, 2012 at the Seattle Art Museum. Includes bibliogaphy. Accessed April, 2015

The Domes of the Yosemite is a 2018 exhibit at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art which says: "The Domes of the Yosemite, the largest existing painting by Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), is making its post-conservation debut at the Morse through a special loan from the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum in Vermont." Also see press release and Albert Bierstadt from Resource Library essays. Accessed  4/18

Home on the Hudson: Women and Men Painting Landscapes 1825-1875. from New York History blog, edited by John Warren. Accessed May, 2014

In Search of the Source: Paintings of the Nile and Beyond by Lockwood De Forest (1850-1932) is a 2017 exhibit at the Huntington Museum of Art which says: "From December 1875 through July 1876 he traveled to the Middle East to paint the beautiful and historic landscapes that he would discover there. During the course of several months, he journeyed on the Nile, then up through Palestine, into Syria, including to Palmyra, and then off to Greece on his return home. In each location he sat down with brush in hand and painted exactly what he viewed with his own eyes on small, wooden panels." Accessed 3/17

"Lost in Our Own Backyard: How American Landscape Painting Lost Its Way," by James Lancel McElhinney, American Arts Quarterl, Volume 22, number 4, from Newington-Cropsey Cultural Studies Center. Accessed August, 2015

Maine Sublime: Frederic Church's "Twilight in the Wilderness" was a 2014 exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art which said: "Famed landscape painter Frederic Church (1826-1900) had a long-standing love affair with the natural beauty of Maine, which he described as "magnificent both land and seaward." Over the course of three decades, he visited often, creating intimately scaled sketches in a variety of media that served to inspire his major works, including Twilight in the Wilderness (1860), one of the Cleveland Museum of Art's most esteemed masterpiece." Accessed 10/16

Newington Cropsey Foundation website which says: "The Newington-Cropsey Foundation was founded in 1977 for the purpose of preserving and displaying the home and paintings of Jasper F. Cropsey (1823-1900), Hudson River School artist...." Accessed May, 2014

Nineteenth-century American landscape drawings in the collection of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, by Elaine Evans Dee, Cooper-Hewitt Museum, 1982. From Accessed August, 2015

Tate Museum provides online research catalogues and dozens of scholarly articles by named authors in Tate Papers. Please see a Room Guide for the exhibition American Sublime: Landscape Painting in the United States 1820 - 1880, held at Tate Britain 21 February -19 May 2002. Accessed August, 2015

Thomas Cole National Historic Site website. Includes introductory video. Accessed August, 2015.

Introduction, by Kathleen M. Hogan, for Tocqueville's America website, from American Studies at the University of Virginia. Accessed August, 2015.

"Under the Open Sky": Landscape Sketches by Nineteenth-Century American Artists, an exhibit held March 28 - July 29, 2007 at the Brooklyn Museum. From the Brooklyn Museum website. Accessed August, 2015.

The Valley of the Shadow: American Landscapes in the Time of the Civil War, an exhibit held from August 31 - December 16, 2012 at The Fralin Museum of Art, University of Virginia. Texts include exhibit labels. Accessed August, 2015.

William Keith: Mountains of Shadow and Light, an exhibit held May 2 to July 3, 2009 at the Saint Mary's College Museum of Art. Accessed April, 2015

William Trost Richards: Hieroglyphs of Landscape is a 2019 exhibit at the McMullen Museum of Art which says: "The first monographic examination of William Trost Richards's (1833-1905) art in Boston, this exhibition explores the artist's career from his earliest sketches and exemplary Pre-Raphaelite technique of the 1860s, to his late masterful seascapes and landscapes. Richards's landscapes in particular come to light within the context of the nineteenth century's burgeoning appreciation for the environment. The exhibition reveals how Richards's works manifest the Romantics' hieroglyphic interpretation of nature, a metaphor embraced by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, and reflect nascent scientific discoveries of contemporary geologists who revolutionized understanding of evolution and history."  Accessed 5/20.

The World of Asher B. Durand: The Artist in Antebellum New York, an exhibit held April 13, 2007 -September 30, 200 at the New-York Historical Society. Accessed April, 2015.

A Storm in the Rocky Mountains, Mt. Rosalie [03:37], August 15, 2008, from WNET. Accessed August, 2015.

The National Gallery of Art offered on its website video podcasts including Philip Guston and Talk About Art. [Link found to be expired as of 2015 audit. TFAO is saving the citation for use by researchers.] The Gallery also presents a video concerning the George Bellows exhibtion held in 2012 The Gallery produced a video titled Frederic Edwin Church's painting "El Rio de Luz (The River of Light)," available online through ArtBabble. According to ArtBabble, "Take a walk in the jungle in Frederic Edwin Church's painting 'El Rio de Luz (The River of Light).' Church, who was a student of the great American painter Thomas Cole, traveled to the jungles of South America, where he made color sketches of the flowers, trees, and plants. Once he returned to his studio, he turned his sketches into large landscape paintings. Look closely -- do you see the red-chested hummingbirds sitting on the tree branches? " The Gallery produced a video titled "THE VOYAGE OF LIFE," 1842, THOMAS COLE, available online through ArtBabble. According to ArtBabble, "In this video from the Children's Video Tour, kids can learn more about four paintings by American artist Thomas Cole, which depict the artist's vision of the journey through life, from birth to old age. Study these paintings as a group and compare the skies, weather, river, and surrounding landscapes. Consider how the forces of nature change from scene to scene, creating a different mood in each one. Which stage of life do you think the artist felt was the most exciting? " Accessed June, 2015.


DVD/VHS videos:

Hudson River and its Painters, The is a 57 minute 1988 video from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Series released by Home Vision Entertainment. The mid-nineteenth century saw the growth of America's first native school of landscape painters, artists inspired by the compelling beauty of the Hudson River Valley, who portrayed this and other romantic wilderness areas with an almost mystical reverence. This 57 minute video explores the life and work of the major artists of what came to be known as the Hudson River School -- Thomas Cole, Asher Durand, Frederic Church, Albert Bierstadt, John Kensett, Jasper Cropsey, Worthington Whittredge, Sanford Gifford, and George Inness. Although its members traveled widely, the growth and development of the school were centered around New York City, and its success reflected the ambitions of the youthful American nation. It presents more than 200 paintings, prints and photographs of the period and juxtaposes them with dramatic location photography of the Hudson River area. The Hudson Company in association with The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Hudson River and its Painters, The is available through the Sullivan Video Library at The Speed Art Museum which holds a sizable collection of art-related videos available to educators at no charge.

Landscapes of Frederic Edwin Church is a 29 minute 1989 National Gallery of Art video directed by Joseph J. Reis and narrated by Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., Curator of American Art at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. From the 1850s to the 1870s, Frederic Edwin Church was the leading landscape painter in America. This video traces Church's career from his early studies in the Catskills and the Hudson River Valley with the eminent landscape painter Thomas Cole. The program continues through Church's maturity when his grand, all-encompassing paintings of the great natural wonders of the Americas made him one of the nation's most celebrated landscape painters of the 19th century. The program includes live footage of the Catskills and of Church's "final work of art," Olana, his house overlooking the Hudson River. Paintings shown include New England Scenery (1851), Niagara (1857), Heart of the Andes (1859), Icebergs (1861), Twilight in the Wilderness (1860), Cotopaxi (1862), Parthenon (1871), and Morning in the Tropics (1877). This program is also available in the DVD collection: American Art, 1785­1926: Seven Artist Profiles.This DVD is lent free of charge through the National Gallery of Art's Division of Education (go to NGA Loan Materials)

Thomas Cole's Paintings of Eden Focuses on landscapes by Hudson River School artist Thomas Cole (1801--1848). Interprets comments on nature, religion, social mores, and environmental issues of 19th-century America. 60-minute video. Description source: Amon Carter Museum Teacher Resource Center

TFAO does not maintain a lending library of videos or sell videos. Click here for information on how to borrow or purchase copies of VHS videos and DVDs listed in TFAO's Videos -DVD/VHS, an authoritative guide to videos in VHS and DVD format.



The Hudson River to Niagara Falls: 19th-Century American Landscape Paintings from the New-York Historical Society (Google eBook) by Linda S. Ferber, Kerry Dean Carso. SUNY Press, Jul 23, 2009. 68 pages. Google Books says: "This catalogue features forty-five paintings from the permanent collection of the New-York Historical Society, newly restored and available here together for the first time. From the mouth of the Hudson River, north to the Adirondacks, and west to Niagara Falls, these paintings by Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, John W. Casilear, Jasper Cropsey, Albert Bierstadt, George Inness, and others depict the landscapes, historic sites, natural wonders, and waterways of New York State. The catalogue also includes important essays by guest curator Linda S. Ferber, Museum Director of the New-York Historical Society and one of the countrys preeminent scholars and authorities on the art of this period, and art and architectural historian Kerry Dean Carso, Associate Professor of Art History at the State University of New York at New Paltz. This catalogue is the third in a trilogy of publications and exhibitions produced at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art celebrating the Hudson River school of painting. The exhibition and catalogue are part of Art and the River, a series of exhibitions, publications, and events that celebrate the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial, which commemorates the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudsons voyage of discovery of the Hudson River."


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