Walks with Artists: The Hudson Valley and Beyond
October 7, 2017 - January 21, 2018
 

John Douglas, View of the Hudson Highlands with Woman Painting, late 19th century (detail). Oil on canvas.

For centuries, the Hudson Valley has attracted intrepid artists to explore and depict its natural splendor. These views have then been collected, displayed, and impacted the way we envision nature. Walks with Artists: The Hudson Valley and Beyond examines the key role played by artists in bringing views of nature indoors—in a domestic or gallery setting—while inspiring our own outdoor itineraries. Forty paintings and prints from the Museum’s permanent collection from the 19th century to today, more than half recent acquisitions on view for the first time, underscore the centrality of landscape in our thought, then as now. Featured artists include Thomas Cole, George Innes, Fanny Palmer, George Gardner Symons, Ralph Fasanella, Richard Haas, Richard Mayhew, Alison Moritsugu, Ellen Kozak, and Jack Stuppin. The exhibition is organized around the elements that artists use to compose landscape paintings, from trees to sky.

Joellyn Duesberry, Cement Factory, Hudson River, 198384. Oil on linen.
Jordan Matter, Vista, 2011 (printed in 2016). Digital photograph on aluminum.

While 19th-century artists like Thomas Cole and John Douglas populated their landscapes with human figures to suggest the viewer’s inclusion, a century later Joseph DiGiorgio eliminated any signs of human presence to immerse us in the woods. Surprising parallels can also be drawn between Hudson River School paintings of the 19th century and the contemporary photography of Jordan Matter, whose dancers beckon us to join the scene. Shifting representations of nature also reflect an evolving relationship towards the environment from awareness to stewardship and conservation. Walks with Artists demonstrates the key role played by landscape painting which led to environmental activism. Walks with Artists welcomes visitors to consider their own relationship to nature, both experienced and seen.

Joseph DiGiorgio, Untitled Landscape, 1999. Oil on canvas.