The National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts

New York, NY



All that Is Glorious Around Us


With its title taken from a passage by James Fenimore Cooper, one of America's most celebrated writers, "All that Is Glorious Around Us" explores the idyllic beauty, grand ideology, and extraordinary technical range of nineteenth - century American landscape painting.

Sixty-five paintings by sixty members of the famous Hudson River School, from Thomas Cole and Asher Durand(both founding members of the National Academy of Design), to fellow painters and Academicians Sanford Robinson Gifford, John Frederick Kensett, Frederic Edwin Church, Thomas Worthington Whittredge, and William Trost Richards will be on view.

In order to provide greater perspective on the ideas, events, and figures shaping the movement's peak period from 1845 to 1875, forgotten masters John H. Carmiencke (a frequent exhibitor at the Academy), and Regis Gignoux, NA, as well as the preeminent African-American painter Robert Duncanson will be featured. Also of special interest will be paintings by a group of seldom-shown women artists: Eliza Greatorex, Laura Woodward, Abigail Oakes, and others.

Organized by the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, Pennsylvania, the exhibition has been curated by John Driscoll, Ph.D., an art historian and specialist in the Hudson River School. A fully illustrated catalogue will be published in conjunction with the exhibition. The exhibition is being coordinated at the National Academy of Design by Chief Curator Dr. David Dearinger.

According to John Driscoll, Hudson River School painters, "believed that all landscapes, whatever may be their features, have a distinct individuality, and express a sentiment of their own." In marked opposition to the traditional custom of painting European subjects, Thomas Cole, as early as 1835, professed that the American landscape, "is a subject that every American ought to be of surpassing interest." Twenty years later, Asher B. Durand echoed these sentiments when writing, "Why should not the American landscape painter, in accordance with the principle of self-government, boldly originate a high and independent style, based on his native resources?"

In their efforts to capture the natural beauty of the wilderness, these painters shared a common vision of landscape painting. Whether traveling alone or together on painting expeditions to the Catskills, Adirondacks, White Mountains, and Blue Ridge Mountains, Niagara Falls, or Watkins Glen, each artist's individual relationship to the beauty before him or her was faithfully rendered. Collectively, their formal and technical innovations elevated the style to the highest ranks of subjects.

By the 1880s, however, artists began turning away from these grand images and towards European Impressionism. Yet, spurred on by the Metropolitan Museum of Art's exhibition of Hudson River School painting in the early 1900s, the movement continues to grow in popularity as the 'first' school of American painting.

Images from top to bottom: Albert Bierstadt (1838-1902), Mountain Lake, 1865, oil on panel, 10 x 13 1/4 inches, private collection, courtesy of Westmoreland Museum of American Art; Fredrick Edwin Church (1826-1900), Ruins at Baalbek, 1868, oil on canvas, 21 3/4 x 36 1/4 inches, private collection, courtesy of Westmoreland Museum of American Art

Read more about the National Academy Museum in Resource Library Magazine

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

rev. 10/18/10

Search Resource Library for thousands of articles and essays on American art.

Copyright 2010 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.