Hudson River Exhibit is Perfect for Philbrook

Alexander Wyant. Florida Sunset, 1885-92. The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT.

Niagara Falls, the Hudson River, Yosemite Valley and the vivid leaves of autumn as natural wonders of the New World fascinated the participants of the Hudson River School, America’s first school of landscape painters. The world’s best collection of Hudson River school paintings resides at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Conn. and is traveling to Tulsa’s Philbrook Museum of Art. The exhibition features 55 exceptional works that encompass all of these themes by every major figure in the Hudson River School, including 13 paintings by Thomas Cole, 11 paintings by Frederick Church and five by Albert Bierstadt. The national tour is sponsored by MetLife Foundation.

The core of Wadsworth Atheneum’s collection, arguably the best such collection in the world, was determined in the 19th century by two major patrons of American artists: Daniel Wadsworth, picturesque traveler, amateur artist and the founder of the Atheneum, and Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt, widow of arms manufacturer Samuel Colt and the creator of a major private collection. As one of the earliest patrons of Cole and Church, Wadsworth nurtured the artists’ careers and introduced the two, resulting in Church’s two-year apprenticeship with Cole. Later acquisitions and gifts, primarily from Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt, added significant works by all of the major Hudson River School artists.

By the end of the 19th century, the style that was pioneered by Thomas Cole had virtually disappeared. Nevertheless, the Hudson River School painters left a notable legacy to American art, capturing the reverence for nature and the idealism of the nation that prevailed at the middle of the 19th century. Hudson River School: Masterworks from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art thus enables museum visitors to view this unique artistic legacy in its totality.

These paintings offer a survey of the entire 19th century American landscape tradition, from John Vanderlyn’s iconic The Murder of Jane McCrea of 1804 to Frederick Church’s near-mythical scene A View of Cuernavaca, Mexico painted c. 1898–1900. The exhibition also shares many artists in common with Philbrook’s permanent collection, including Asher B. Durand, George Inness, Worthington Whittredge, and Alexander Wyant, providing opportunities for the dedicated visitor to compare and contrast Philbrook’s masterpieces with those from the Atheneum collection.

The exhibition is accompanied by a color catalogue available in the Museum Shop written by Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser, Krieble Curator of American Paintings, Sculpture, and Works on Paper at the Wadsworth Atheneum.

The Philbrook Museum of Art is located at 2727 South Rockford Road, just five minutes from downtown Tulsa. The museum is open 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday; Thursday evenings until 8 pm; closed Mondays. Daily admission is $7.50 adults; $5.50 seniors and groups of ten or more; museum members and children 12 and under are admitted free.

Interpretive Materials—Tours
The Philbrook education department provides specialized interpretive materials related to the exhibition including: gallery guides, activity backpacks, programs, lectures, drop-in workshops, films and other activities and events for visitors to enjoy while at Philbrook.

Special exhibition and permanent collection tours are offered daily to visitors. Tours are free with museum admission, and no advanced reservations are necessary. Tours begin Tuesday through Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. and Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m. Group tours are available to interested parties by scheduling two weeks in advance to 918-748-5309.

The Presenting Sponsor is the Raymond and Bessie Kravis Foundation. Supporters are the H.A. and Mary K. Chapman Charitable Trust, the Helmerich Foundation, the Tulsa World and the Lorton Family. Contributors include Vintage Petroleum, Inc., Jean Pape Adams, Bank of Oklahoma, the Boeing Company, DA/PRO Rubber, Inc., Debra and David Humphreys of Joplin, Missouri, the Oklahoma Arts Council, ONEOK Foundation, The Oxley Foundation, PACERS Volunteer Committee, Carol M. Pielsticker, QuikTrip Corporation, and Mr. and Mrs. Jon R. Stuart.

Updated 02-25-2005

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