Exhibition Marks First Virginia Showing of Prestigious Private Collection
Winchester, VA., 10/26/10…Selections from one of the country’s most prestigious private collections of Hudson River School paintings will be on display October 30, 2010, through January 23, 2011, at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (MSV).
American Scenery: Different Views in Hudson River School Painting was organized and is being toured by the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. A condensed version of a larger exhibition that toured the country between 2005 and 2008, this MSV presentation marks the first time this important collection will be on display in Virginia.
Forty landscapes by major Hudson River School artists are included in the exhibition in the MSV. Among the 33 artists whose works are presented in the display are such acknowledged masters of this genre as Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church, John Frederick Kensett, Jasper Francis Cropsey, Asher B. Durand, and John William Casilear.
The Hudson River School is considered by many to be the first truly American school of painting. Flourishing between 1825 and 1875 but extending into the late nineteenth century, it involved three generations of painters. The movement, which was actually not geographically confined to the Hudson River region, celebrated the vast natural resources of the American landscape at a time its artists were witnessing the onslaught of industrialization that threatened it. The artists of the school were united by shared principles, including a belief in the magnificence of nature and the idea that the fresh, untamed American scenery reflected this country’s national character.
In its engaging presentation in the MSV, the landscape paintings will be grouped by pairs or arranged in a series to illustrate how these different generations of Hudson River School artists interpreted the majestic American landscape in the 1800s. The paintings will be grouped into nine categories, or sections, which include, among other themes, times of the day, weather conditions, and seasons. Interspersed with the paintings, lines of prose and poetry by Edgar Allen Poe, Walt Whitman, Washington Irving, William Cullen Bryant, and others add additional impact by showing how writers of the time were also intrigued by the theme of nature’s majesty.
According to MSV Acting Director Franny Crawford, the exhibition is especially appropriate for display in the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, as three artists represented in American Scenery—Jasper Francis Cropsey, Martin Johnson Heade, and John Frederick Kensett—are also represented in the Julian Wood Glass Jr. Collection.
In conjunction with the exhibition’s showing in the MSV, the Museum Store is offering a number of related gift items. These include, most significantly, the accompanying exhibition catalogue, Different Views in Hudson River School Painting, authored by Judith O’Toole, director of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art and curator of the exhibition. Published by Columbia University Press and lauded as a “study of significant importance,” the catalogue includes full-color images of the 114 paintings of the larger exhibition from which the MSV display is derived.
Special Related Programming
To celebrate the showing of American Scenery: Different Views in Hudson River School Painting, the MSV has scheduled several related special events and educational opportunities.
From 2 until 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 6, a Start with Art Youth Workshop, Creating Landscapes, will introduce beginning artists ages 11 to 15 to the Hudson River School of landscape painting. Led by Warren County High School art teacher and MSV Docent Rhonda Smith, this program will include a guided tour of the exhibition and a discussion of other selected landscapes in the MSV. After learning the basics of landscape painting, participants will create their own works of art. The fee for this workshop is $10 for MSV Members and $12 for all others and includes supplies and refreshments. Registration by November 3 is required; those interested may call 540-662-1473, ext. 219, or email acansler@ShenandoahMuseum.org.
Next, from 4 until 9 p.m. on Friday, November 12, the popular Museum event called Galleries at Night will also celebrate the Hudson River School of Painting. The night’s highlight will be an illustrated lecture, “Different Views of Hudson River School Painting,” by Judith O’Toole, director of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art. In her presentation, O’Toole will discuss the Hudson River School and the shared themes, symbols, and subject matter embraced by three generations of its artists in the 1800s. Following the presentation, O’Toole will sign copies of her book, Different Views in Hudson River School Painting. Those attending the event may also tour the galleries, visit the store, or stop by the Museum Café for a light dinner or dessert. Wine will be available for purchase in the Museum lobby, as well. This special evening is free to MSV Members and $5 for all others; additional costs apply for café and wine purchases.
At 2 p.m. on Tuesday, December 7, the MSV Holiday Tea will have a Hudson River theme. A popular annual event, this year’s tea will feature the presentation “Hudson River School Views with a Side Trip to Natural Bridge” by Shenandoah University’s Associate Professor of Art History and Art, Geraldine Kiefer, PhD. After a tea that will include mini-sandwiches, desserts, and several flavors of hot tea, Kiefer will discuss the Hudson River School and take a detailed look at selected painters and images of the Shenandoah Valley’s Natural Bridge, one of the most famous landmarks of nineteenth-century American landscape art that became a Virginia extension of the Hudson River School. The illustrated presentation will conclude with a gallery tour. Registration by November 29 is required; those interested may call 540-662-1473, ext. 208 or email registration@ShenandoahMuseum.org.
Finally, the Hudson River School will also headline the Galleries at Night event from 4 until 9 p.m. on Friday, January 14. On this special evening and beginning at 6:30 p.m., special guided art tours will be offered every 15 minutes. Two different tours—“American Art until Hudson River School Painting” and “Highlights of Hudson River School Painting”—will be offered. Each tour will last approximately 20 minutes. Before or after the gallery tours, those attending the event may visit the Museum Store and stop by the café for a light dinner or dessert. In honor of the exhibition, wine from New York will be available for purchase, as well. This special event is free to MSV Members—who may, just for this event, bring a guest for free—or $5 for all others; additional costs apply for café and wine purchases.
The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley complex tells the story of the great region for which it is named and includes a $20 million museum that opened in 2005, the Glen Burnie Historic House, and six acres of gardens. The site is located at 901 Amherst Street in Winchester, Virginia. The MSV complex is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. The house and gardens are open March through November; the Museum is open year-round. The historic house and gardens are not open during Galleries at Night. Gallery admission is free on Wednesday mornings from 10 a.m. until noon. Admission is free to MSV Members. For all others, admission to the Museum galleries is $8 for adults and $6 for seniors and youth. Additional information is available at www.ShenandoahMuseum.org or by calling 540-662-1473, ext. 235. – END –
Julie B. Armel
540-662-1473, ext. 225