Hudson River Museum Presents A Feast for the Eyes: Sumptuous Still Lifes and Meet Me at the River

Yonkers, NY, March 4, 2024—The Hudson River Museum is thrilled to unveil not one, but two captivating exhibitions that promise to delight art enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. A Feast for the Eyes: Sumptuous Still Lifes, serves up a selection of tantalizing still-life paintings from HRM collection and loans spanning 150 years, while Meet Me at the River, invites you to dive into archival and fine-art photographs that capture how communities past and present have turned to the water for a joyful day out.

A Feast for the Eyes: Sumptuous Still Lifes
March 8, 2024–December 1, 2024

Still-life paintings are deceptively straightforward. They depict groups of objects as their main subject matter—flowers, food, drink, and the vessels that contain them—yet they are often imbued with symbolic meaning and offer a new way of looking at everyday items. A Feast for the Eyes invites you to revel in lush expressions of beauty, sustenance, and abundance spanning 150 years. The exhibition features artists Adelheid Dietrich, Audrey Flack, George Henry Hall, Albert Herter, Levi Wells Prentice, Severin Roesen, Ben Schonzeit, and Jane Wilson.

Director and CEO Masha Turchinsky states, “Still lifes have held public fascination for centuries for good reason. We are thrilled to bring fresh attention to this genre and highlight these superb new additions to the Hudson River Museum’s collection, made possible by generous donations from Shelley and Felice Bergman and Theodore Kaplan and Henry Tobin.”

As a category of art, still life traces its lineage to seventeenth-century Europe, particularly the Dutch Old Masters, whose paintings of consumable and material comforts were highly valued by their clientele. Artists not only showed off their skill in capturing light, shadow, and color of the surfaces and forms in their arrangements, but often included objects and details imbued with symbolic meaning. For example, nature’s bounty of cut flowers, perhaps beginning to wilt, or perishable food, attracting insects, signified wealth but also hinted at mortality and decay.

In the nineteenth century, many American artists, often from or trained in Europe, specialized in still life. Among the earliest paintings in the exhibition, the two masterful works by Severin Roesen demonstrate the role of still life in articulating visual and sensual pleasure in consumer goods in mid-nineteenth-century America. In the early twentieth century, Albert Herter painted the gladioli he grew in his garden, creating the illusion of cut stems inside a glass vase, reminiscent of French flower paintings he would have seen when he lived in Paris.

In reaction to nonrepresentational art movements popular in the aftermath of World War II, many painters in the 1970s returned to realism and explored still life. Photorealists such as Audrey Flack painted directly from photos of their compositions, striving to create the appearance, not of everyday life, but of a photograph. They shared earlier still-life artists’ fascination with the play of light on reflective surfaces, which offered the opportunity to display the mastery of their craft. Jane Wilson concentrated instead on a painterly luminosity, softening sharp edges and simplifying forms.

Overall, these examples of a time-honored genre ask us to consider the meanings conveyed by ordinary and extraordinary objects, when seen through the keen eyes and produced with the brush-wielding hands of artists of different times and sensibilities.

Exhibitions are made possible by assistance provided by the County of Westchester.

Programs for the exhibition have been generously sponsored, in part, by Shelley and Felice Bergman.

Meet Me at the River
March 22–May 26, 2024

A summer swim. A boat ride to catch the sunset. A birthday party on the shoreline. The Hudson River has long served as a space to gather and take pleasure in the natural world. In this exhibition in the Community & Partnership Gallery, the Hudson River Museum brings together archival and fine-art photographs from the HRM collection to document how community members past and present have turned to the water for a joyful day out. The exhibition also features new work by contemporary photographer Andrew Kung, whose series Dreaming on the Hudson examines Asian American men in the natural world.

From nineteenth-century studio portraits of Palisade Boat Club members to the quiet riverfront scenes captured by mid-twentieth-century photographer George Daniell, the works presented chronicle more than 100 years of play on the Hudson. These images are complemented by archival ephemera drawn from the Museum’s extensive collections of recreation along the Hudson. Throughout, the river takes shape as its own lively character, relayed through portraitlike close-ups or sweeping panoramic views.

At the same time, photographs of river traffic and lighthouse workers, taken by pioneering conservationist Ruth Glunt in the 1940s and 50s, remind us that access to the shoreline was a hard-won battle: one that required a deep understanding of the river as a community resource. Andrew Kung’s ongoing series, Dreaming on the Hudson also reveals that the river continues to invite conversations around access and equitability. Inspired by Hudson River School artists’ romantic depictions of the landscape, Kung stages his subjects in pastoral settings to investigate themes of masculinity and land stewardship. Through careful, sunlit compositions, he transforms images of soccer matches and picnics into radically tender scenes of friendship and belonging.

Co-curator Karintha Lowe states, “Meet Me at the River celebrates the Hudson River as a critically important site of community building. We are especially thrilled for the opportunity to highlight this dimension of the river through the Museum’s vibrant collection of photography as well as Andrew Kung’s new works, which brilliantly collate imagery drawn from the Hudson River School with Asian American history.”

Meet Me at the River is co-curated by Karintha Lowe, HRM’s Mellon Public Humanities Fellow, and Christopher Fosina, Curatorial Assistant.

On view alongside Rivers Flow / Artists Connect, Meet Me at the River reflects the power of the river as an enduring gathering space for diverse communities.

Exhibitions are made possible by assistance provided by the County of Westchester.

This exhibition is made possible by Sarah Lawrence College through a generous grant from the Mellon Foundation.

Related Programs

Meet Me at the River: Tour and Talk
Sunday, April 14, 1:30pm
Join a tour of Meet Me at the River, conducted jointly by co-curators Karintha Lowe and Christopher Fosina, with commentary by Kevin Horbatiuk, Yonkers Paddle and Rowing Club member and former Commodore, in this collaborative program in recognition of Earth Day. View the exhibition in the HRM’s Community and Partnership Gallery and reflect on the power of the river as an enduring gathering space for diverse communities. Engage in lively conversation about different perspectives on people’s relationships to the river, then and now.

Dreaming on the Hudson: Artist Talk and Workshop with Andrew Kung
Saturday, May 11, 1:30pm
In his ongoing series, Dreaming on the Hudson, photographer Andrew Kung stages his subjects beside the Hudson River, transforming images of soccer matches and picnics into radically tender scenes of friendship and belonging. Join Kung for an artist talk about the series, which is featured in the exhibition Meet Me at the River.

The gallery talk will be followed by an outdoor photography workshop with Kung to create dynamic landscape and portrait compositions. A limited number of polaroid and digital cameras will be provided. Participants are also welcome to bring their own cameras or use cell phones. Recommended for ages 12+.

Curator Tour of A Feast for the Eyes: Sumptuous Still Lifes
Saturday, May 25, 1:30pm
Delight your senses in a curator tour of this selection of enticing still life paintings by artists including Severin Roesen, Audrey Flack, and Jane Wilson. Explore and discuss the composition, color, and deeper meanings of this genre, and then create your own still life with materials provided in a self-directed Drop In & Draw workshop.

Family Art Workshop: Drop In & Draw a Still Life
Saturday, May 25, 12–4pm
Feeling inspired by the art on view? Enjoy a self-directed drawing activity for families. Create your own work of art inspired by those in our galleries! A still life will be set up for visitors who would like to extend the experience of the afternoon’s tour by trying their hand at one themselves. Recommended for all ages.

Teen Art Workshop: Paint a Still Life
Sunday, May 26, 2–4pm
Love to paint? Are you an expert, amateur, or newbie to the artform? In this painting workshop just for teens, experience and skill don’t matter. Learn how to create a still-life painting step-by-step with artist Teresa Pereira! Snacks and drinks will be provided. This event is free with general admission. Capacity is limited; registration required.

Press contact:
Jeana Wunderlich
jwunderlich@hrm.org
(914) 963-4550 x240

Samantha Hoover
shoover@hrm.org
(914) 963-4550 x216

Images: Left: Severin Roesen (American, b. Prussia, ca. 1815–ca. 1872). Fruit and Watermelon, Wine and Champagne, ca. 1850–70. Oil on canvas. Collection of the Hudson River Museum. Gift of Shelley and Felice Bergman, 2023 (2023.15.1).
Right: Andrew Kung (American, b. 1991). River’s Dream, 2022. Digital print. Courtesy of the artist.