From Colony to Nation: 200 Years of American Painting at the New-York Historical Society

June 07, 2013
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September 08, 2013

This exhibition of American art, drawn from the New-York Historical Society's venerable collections, presents a chronological and thematic survey of masterworks ranging in date from 1720 to 1917. Included are Colonial, Federal, and Gilded Age portraits; Hudson River School landscapes; marine and maritime paintings, with a focus on works inspired by the War of 1812; and genre, history, and narrative subjects.

Thomas Buttersworth (English, 1758-1842), Escape of H.M.S. Belvidera from the U.S. Frigate President, ca. 1815, Oil on canvas, 16 x 22 in. (40.6 x 55.9 cm), Bequest of Irving S. Olds, 1963.58

Woven throughout the installation are a medley of artist portraits that traces American masters from Benjamin West’s London studio to the mid-nineteenth century ateliers of New York. Highlights include works by Gerardus Duyckinck, Charles Willson Peale, Gilbert Stuart, Benjamin West, Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Thomas Birch, Thomas Buttersworth, William Sidney Mount, John F. Kensett, John Singer Sargent and Childe Hassam.

St. Patrick's Eve

Grab a pint at our cash bar and tour our objects and paintings that represent the history of the Irish in New York.

Fri, 03/16/2012 - 18:00 to 20:00
Fri, March 16th, 2012 | 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

On St. Patrick's Eve, we'll be hosting an evening dedicated to Irish heritage, with music, art and more. Grab a pint at Caffè Storico and tour our objects and paintings that represent the history of the Irish in New York! A map will guide you to such treasures as artist John Ramage's desk, Al Smith's cigar box, and Louis Lang’s historical painting The Return of the 69th (Irish) Regiment, N.Y.S.M.

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Return of the 69th (Irish) Regiment, N.Y.S.M. from the Seat of War

Exhibitions: 
Highlight: 
Not promoted
Title:
Return of the 69th (Irish) Regiment, N.Y.S.M. from the Seat of War
Date: 
1862
Medium: 
Oil on canvas
Credit Line: 
New-York Historical Society, Gift of Louis Lang. Photo courtesy Williamstown Art Conservation Center, 2011
Object Number: 
1886.3
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Making American Taste: Narrative Art for a New Democracy

November 11, 2011
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September 09, 2012

Making American Taste features fifty-five works from the New-York Historical Society’s collection that cast new light on both the history of American art and the formation of American cultural ideals during a crucial period from the 1830s to the late 1860s. By integrating history, literary and religious subjects with now better-known examples of rural and domestic genre, the exhibition explores the broad range of styles and narrative themes that appealed to nineteenth-century Americans seeking cultural refinement.

Click on the painting below to learn about the people depicted.

Louis Lang (1814–1893), Return of the 69th (Irish) Regiment, N.Y.S.M. from the Seat of War, 1862-1863. Oil on canvas. New-York Historical Society, Gift of Louis Lang, 1886.3. Photo courtesy Williamstown Art Conservation Center, 2011

The exhibition includes Louis Lang’s The Return of the 69th (Irish) Regiment, N.Y.S.M. from the Seat of War, a Civil War masterpiece rediscovered, as well as works by such canonical artists as Benjamin West, Asher B. Durand, William Sidney Mount and Eastman Johnson. Additionally, significant works by artists who were major figures in their own time, such as Daniel Huntington, Henry Peters Gray and T. H. Matteson, but who have been virtually ignored in current American art surveys, are also on exhibition. The reintegration of these "forgotten" works into the larger art-historical framework challenges the canon of current taste that has elevated genre to a privileged position at the expense of other narrative modes (including Stuart and Tudor, Shakespearean, and idealized subjects inspired by European masters). Together the works expand our understanding of the tastes of the nineteenth-century New Yorkers whose gifts formed the New-York Historical Society’s core collections.

A fully-illustrated publication authored by Barbara Dayer Gallati, Linda S. Ferber, Ella M. Foshay and Kimberly Orcutt and published by D. Giles Ltd in association with New-York Historical accompanies the exhibition.

Making American Taste Curriculum Guide

Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School

  

The exhibition and publication are supported by the National Endowment for the Arts through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, the Walter and Lucille Rubin Foundation, Richard Gilder and Lois Chiles, the Joanne Witty & Eugene Keilin Fund at the New York Community Trust, the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, Larry K. Clark, the Barrie A. and Deedee Wigmore Foundation, J. Joe Ricketts, an anonymous donor, and many generous individuals.

Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School

September 21, 2012
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February 20, 2013

Please note the closing date has been changed from February 21
After a national tour, the forty-five iconic works, including Thomas Cole’s five-part series The Course of Empire and other masterworks by Cole, John F. Kensett, Albert Bierstadt, Jasper F. Cropsey, Asher B. Durand and others will once again be on display at the New-York Historical Society. This exhibition showcases the extraordinary depth and richness of the New-York Historical Society’s landscape collections, especially paintings by artists of the Hudson River School. Rising to eminence in New York during the mid-nineteenth century, this loosely knit group of artists, together with like-minded poets and writers, forged a self-consciously “American” landscape vision and literary voice. Both were grounded in the exploration of the natural world as a resource for spiritual renewal and as an expression of cultural and national identity. 

Thomas Cole (1801–1848), Catskill Creek, NY, 1845. Oil on canvas. New-York Historical Society, The Robert L. Stuart Collection, S-157

The Hudson River and the natural wonders along its banks had a long history of associations with earlier inhabitants, including Native Americans, the Dutch, and the British. Key battles of the American Revolution were fought along the river’s course. Such historical associations amid the evocative terrain of the Catskills, Adirondacks, and White Mountains enriched regional sites throughout the Hudson River Valley and New England, inspiring homegrown schools of painting and literature grounded in their scenery and history. After 1850 Hudson River School artists also sought inspiration further from home, enlisting their artistic vision the Arctic, and the Andes.

The paintings in the exhibition are organized around themes that illuminate the sites that drew both artists and travelers. Other themes investigate landscape imagery as a powerful narrative device that embodied ideas about nature and culture.

Related Press:

The Epoch TimesHudson River School Exhibit: Timeless Virtues of the 19th Century
Behind the Scenes: The Hudson River School and the Idea of Recreation
WBAI: Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School

Making American Taste: Narrative Art for a New Democracy

Making American Taste: Narrative Art for a New Democracy provides a new perspective on American art by approaching narrative subject matter through the lens of taste as it was defined roughly from 1825 to 1870, when debates over the role of American art addressed not just content, but the role art should take outside of the European tradition. By integrating history, literary and religious subjects with now better-known examples of rural and domestic genre, this exhibition introduces to modern audiences the broad range of styles and narrative themes which appealed to nineteenth-century Americans seeking cultural refinement.

 

William Sidney Mount (1807-1868), Bargaining for a Horse (Farmers Bargaining), 1835. Oil on canvas. New-York Historical Society, Gift of the New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts, 1858.59

The exhibition drawn from the New-York Historical Society’s collection of narrative art includes fifty-five works by such canonical artists as Benjamin West, Asher B. Durand, William Sidney Mount, and Eastman Johnson. Additionally, significant works will also be on exhibition by artists who were major figures in their own time (such as Daniel Huntington, Henry Peters Gray and T. H. Matteson), but who have been virtually ignored in current American art surveys. The reintegration of these “forgotten” works into the larger art-historical framework challenges the canon of taste that has elevated genre (i.e., scenes of everyday life) to a privileged position at the expense of other narrative modes (including Stuart and Tudor, Shakespearean, and idealized subjects inspired by European masters).

 

Tour Schedule

Venue Dates
Taft Museum of Art (Cincinnati, OH) September 20, 2013–January 12, 2014
Taubman Museum of Art (Roanoke, VA) February 22–May 19, 2014
HOLD October 2014 - January 2015
Frist Center for the Visual Arts (Nashville, TN) February 27–June 7, 2015
Westmoreland Museum of American Art (Greensburg, PA) December 20, 2015–March 13, 2016

 

Resources

A fully-illustrated publication published by D. Giles Ltd in association with New-York Historical accompanies the exhibition.

For more information, please e-mail travelingexhibitions@nyhistory.org

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