Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New "Painting" Show at PEM

Today I was privileged to be able to preview the newest exhibit at PEM, entitled "Painting the American Vision" which is simply yet another amazing show.

I especially love the guided tours of these exhibits given by the curators, in this case Sam Scott.  I learn so much, take furious notes, hoping to convey to you, fair blog reader, all I have learned, rush back to the hotel, get to my computer and become mute for the right words to really tell the story as eloquently as he does.

So the best I can do is to share with you my interpretation of what he said, a sort of "Juli Notes" version that will hardly do the subject justice, but I hope it will help you understand a little bit more of this subject than you knew before you read this post.

The American painters at the time were schooled in the European style, were craving recognition and attention, and while painting in the European style, began to paint in a fresh newness our young and relatively untouched landscape.  Over time they really did develop their own style, which has become known as the "Hudson River School".  To me it seemed the defining and unifying issues were a passion for "nature", the importance of preserving natural sites for future generations, a depth of field that brings the viewer's eye from the detail in the foreground to the far-away vista and a dedication to making the viewer really care about the land they were viewing.

I have included some images, generously provided by the wonderful staff at PEM, but honestly, images such as these really need to be seen to be appreciated.  There is nothing like seeing grand paintings in the wonderful light-filled galleries of the new wing of PEM to really appreciate them.

Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) Donner Lake from the Summit, 1873
Oil on canvas, 72 1/8 x 120 3/16 in. (183.2 x 305.3 cm)
Gift of Archer Milton Huntington, 1909.16
Courtesy of The New-York Historical Society

The Solitary Oak, 1844
Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 in. (91.4 x 121.9 cm)
Gift of The New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts, 1858.75
Courtesy of The New-York Historical Society

Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823-1900) Sunset, Lake George, New York, 1867
Oil on canvas, 24 1/4 x 44 in. (61.6 x 111.8 cm)
Robert L. Stuart Collection, S-126
Courtesy of The New-York Historical Society

Shrewsbury River, New Jersey, 1859
Oil on canvas, 18 1/2 x 30 1/2 in. (47 x 77.5 cm)
Robert L. Stuart Collection, S-229
Courtesy of The New-York Historical Society

Thomas Cole (1801-1848) Catskill Creek, N.Y., 1845
Oil on canvas, 26 1/2 x 36 in. (67.3 x 91.4 cm)
Robert L. Stuart Collection, S-157
Courtesy of The New-York Historical Society

I hope you will make plans to get here soon, for I predict that this show will become wildly popular, very quickly.  The sooner you come, the more likely you will have plenty of time to really relax and take in the powerful beauty of each piece.

Remember that we do always offer a PEM package here at the Hawthorne Hotel which includes passes to the museum, as well as a gift certificate to use in their outstanding gift shop.

I hope to see you here soon.


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