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Transitional Nature

Hudson River School Paintings from the David and Laura Grey Collection

On View:
Saturday, January 25, 2020 — Sunday, May 17, 2020

Curated By:
Katherine Manthorne, Ph.D, Professor of Modern Art of the Americas, Graduate Center, City University of New York, in collaboration with Amy Galpin, Ph.D., Chief Curator, Frost Art Museum.


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Cultural identity in the United States has been long intertwined with its magnificent landscapes, from the dense forests of New England to the open terrain of the West. These landscapes extol the unique beauty of this country and relate to the first significant art movement in the United States, known as the Hudson River School. The artists who painted these American landscapes worked during a time of increasing industrialization and growth of technology—not a coincidence of history but a lens on ecocritical thinking of the time.  Modern industry changed the culture and economic future of this country, but also gave rise to concerns about the preservation of a natural environment often described as a Garden of Eden. While much of Transitional Nature focuses on U.S. landscapes, depictions of Greenland and Ecuador exemplify the international travel undertaken by nineteenth-century artists in further pursuit of untrammeled terrain. Artists working today frequently address the beauty and complexity of landscape, drawing our attention to environment and ecology. Transitional Nature will feature a selection of works by contemporary artists that will connect in powerful ways the past of the Hudson River School to the present art world.

Transitional Nature draws from the collection of David and Laura Grey and includes masterpieces by Albert Bierstadt, Robert S. Duncanson, Asher B. Durand, and George Inness. The exhibition is curated by Katherine Manthorne, Ph.D, Professor of Modern Art of the Americas, Graduate Center, City University of New York, in collaboration with Amy Galpin, Ph.D., Chief Curator, Frost Art Museum.

Image caption: Francis Silva, Evening, 1881, oil on canva

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