Austin, Texas.- The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin is pleased to present “American Scenery: Different Views of Hudson River School Painting”, on view from February 26th through May 13th. The exhibition will feature 116 paintings from the Hudson River School, a loose collective of artists working in upstate New York from 1825-1875, whose works comprised America’s first native artistic style. Artists included in the Hudson River School, and represented in The Blanton’s presentation, are Thomas Cole, Jasper Francis Cropsey, Sanford Robinson Gifford, Asher B. Durand, Frederic Edwin Church, John Frederick Kensett, and John William Casilear, among others. Assembled from a single private collection, this touring exhibition is organized by the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greenburg, Pennsylvania.
Simone Wicha, director of The Blanton states, “We are delighted to be able to present American Scenery to our members, visitors, and the Austin community. This special exhibition offers the unique opportunity to experience a remarkable period in American art. The works capture the pioneering spirit of the artists who were captivated and moved by the immense beauty of this country’s landscape.”
Founded in 1825 by Thomas Cole, the Hudson River School drew its inspiration from America’s landscape. Considered by many to be the first truly American school of painting, it flourished between 1825 and 1875. The movement was embraced by three generations of artists who shared common principles uniting them as a school despite their individual differences in style. Primary among these was a belief in natural religion, a deep admiration for the magnificence of nature, and a keen interest in the direct observation of nature. Most importantly, however, was awareness of the fresh, untamed American scenery as reflective of the optimism and independence of our character as a young nation. Its artists shared a spiritual awe of nature and believed in the notion that the country’s untamed wilderness reflected aspects of its national character. American Scenery investigates the group’s shared aesthetic and philosophical principles and situates the paintings in the context of nineteenth-century American values. The exhibition’s unique point of view stresses the artist’s eye, pairing and grouping paintings that explore the visual characteristics of particular sites, or that examine the subtle changes that can be observed during varied seasons, times of day, and weather conditions. The exhibition will be on view in The Blanton’s Butler Family Foundation Gallery on the first floor, and will include a timeline and resource room for further exploration.
The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin is one of the foremost university art museums in the country, and has the largest and most comprehensive collection of art in Central Texas. The Blanton’s collection comprises over 17,000 works of art in a variety of mediums, with particular depth in Western European art from the fourteenth through twentieth centuries and modern and contemporary art of the Americas. Through the collecting of art, preserving it in optimal condition, and creatively displaying and interpreting these objects, The Blanton serves as an intellectual and social portal connecting the university and the rest of the world through visual art and culture. The art museum of The University of Texas at Austin was born of a generous gift from an unexpected source. In 1927 Archer M. Huntington, a New Yorker and the son of railroad magnate Collis P. Huntington, donated four thousand acres of land in Galveston, Texas, to the university with instructions that it “be dedicated to the support of an art museum.” The proceeds from the eventual sale of that land created an endowment for museum operations and provided a portion of the cost for the construction in 1963 of a new building for the art department of the university, including some gallery space that was formally named the University Art Museum. All told, the Blanton collection today numbers more than 17,000 works. the museum takes enormous pride in the great depth they have achieved by concentrating their collecting efforts on works from specific periods, movements, and artists. The long-held vision of a new museum building became a reality with the groundbreaking for a new facility in October 2003. The new complex, designed by Kallmann McKinnell & Wood Architects, is comprised of the Mari and James A. Michener Gallery Building, a 124,000-square-foot space that houses the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions; the 56,000-square-foot Edgar A. Smith Building features a café, museum shop, classrooms, auditorium, and offices; and a 145,000-square-foot public plaza and garden designed by Peter Walker and Partners. As the only art museum in Austin with a permanent collection of substantial range and depth, the Blanton has embraced a mission of serving as a “cultural gateway” between the university and the community. Visit the museum’s website at … http://blantonmuseum.org