The Newark Museum has a superb collection of modestly sized, beautifully painted landscapes from the second half of the nineteenth century. Presented collectively these works provide a compelling overview of the different approaches to landscape painting while underscoring shifts in artistic and social attitudes towards nature.
Beginning with the Hudson River School in the 1820s, landscape served as a vehicle for expressing national identity and intense pride in the sublime wonders of the land. Artists associated with this movement, such as Albert Bierstadt, Asher B. Durand and Jasper Cropsey, were intent on creating realistic and recognizable American scenes.
During the Civil War and particularly in the years following, artists became increasingly cosmopolitan, turning to Europe for inspiration. The ardent nationalism of the Hudson River School waned as French landscape painting influenced a younger generation of painters. George Inness, John Pope and Mary Moran adopted the muted colors, cloudy weather conditions and loose paint application of French Barbizon art. By the 1890s, Impressionism with its broken brushstrokes and brilliant hues became the avant-garde style in America.
At the end of the century, small, intimate scenes of a cultivated and civilized land conveyed artists' personal reactions to nature, frequently resulting in poetic, spiritual and mystical visions that translated and transformed the natural environment.
Made possible through the generosity of Barbara and Bill Weldon, The Henry Luce Foundation for American Art and The Newark Museum Volunteer Organization
Accompanying Installation: Look/Touch/Learn: Nature & Art
Experience the joy of observing nature as the American landscape painters did in the nineteenth century. Enter into a landscape or create your own, touch natural specimens, read a good story, and discover how to look more closely at the world around you.
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Banner (left to right): Jasper Cropsey, Greenwood Lake, 1871, oil on canvas. Gift of Miss Mary Dyckman, 1959; Albert Bierstadt, Lake at Franconia Notch, White Mountains, ca. 1860s, oil on paper. Gift of Dr. J. Ackerman Coles, 1926
Above: George Inness, Delaware Valley Before the Storm, ca. 1865, oil on canvas. Purchase 1944 Wallace M. Scudder Bequest Fund