Significant Nineteenth-Century Paintings by Fitz Henry Lane and Severin Roesen Gifted to HRM

Hudson River Museum is thrilled to announce the gift of two exquisite paintings: Gloucester, Stage Fort Beach, 1849, by Fitz Henry Lane; and Fruit with Water Glass, ca. 1850–70, by Severin Roesen; both works were generously donated to the HRM’s collection by Shelley and Felice Bergman. These major works of nineteenth-century landscape and still-life painting will augment the Museum’s extensive collection of American paintings, sculptures, works-on-paper, photographs, and decorative arts from the nineteenth century to today. Both paintings represent artists new to the Hudson River Museum’s collection.

For their debut, the two paintings are now prominently displayed in the Cycles of Nature: Highlights from the Collections of the Hudson River Museum and Art Bridges, which will be on view through February 12, 2023. The paintings appear alongside works in the Museum’s collection, including those by Berenice Abbott, Jeremy Dennis, Asher B. Durand, Richard Mayhew, and Barbara Morgan. Also on view in the exhibition are paintings by Lee Krasner and George Bellows, as part of an ongoing partnership with Art Bridges. Following the Cycles of Nature exhibition, the paintings will be part of a multi-year reimagination and reinstallation of the Museum’s collection.

“These paintings by Fitz Henry Lane and Severin Roesen are extraordinary gifts that elevate the Hudson River Museum’s collection,” said Director and CEO Masha Turchinsky. “They are stunning to experience in person and they fulfill important mission-driven goals to strengthen the Museum’s holdings, while expanding the connections we make with the public. We are deeply grateful to Shelley and Felice Bergman for recognizing and supporting our commitment to community and to American art. At a pivotal moment in which we are constructing a beautiful new West Wing and new galleries overlooking the Hudson, we will be extremely proud to share these works with present and future generations.”

Laura Vookles, Chair of the HRM’s Curatorial Department, stated, “I cannot overstate the impact these masterpieces and these artists will have on the collection and on the stories we tell in our galleries. They have already inspired new interpretations of other collection paintings and photographs in the Cycles of Nature exhibition. I am looking forward to the countless ways we will display and discuss these magnificent paintings for all, from our youngest visitors to the scholarly community.”

“We wanted to ensure these gifts would have a home where they would be appreciated and could serve the widest possible audience,” stated the Bergmans. “It mattered to us that the Hudson River Museum is extremely committed to strengthening the community through its educational mission. We are excited that these cherished works by Fitz Henry Lane and Severin Roesen will be used as teaching tools and to spark new conversations for generations to come.”

Fitz Henry Lane’s (American, 1804–1865) Gloucester, Stage Fort Beach, 1849, is a masterful example of the mid-nineteenth-century development of the Hudson River School termed Luminism, in which artists meticulously painted effects of light specific to different times of day. Lane was born Nathan Rogers Lane in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where his father worked as a sail maker. Paralyzed from the waist down at a young age, he was not able to participate in the mercantile pursuits of his father’s business. Influenced by the marine paintings of English-born artist Robert Salmon (1775–ca.1845), Lane took up oil painting; and harbor scenes such as this ensured his legacy as the preeminent marine artist of the mid-nineteenth century. His paintings and prints are in many collections, including those of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Peabody Essex Museum, and Farnsworth Art Museum.

Severin Roesen (1815–ca. 1872) Fruit with Water Glass, ca. 1850–70, depicts a bowl overflowing with apples, plums, and grapes of all hues, yet the yellowing edge of one grape leaf and an insect eaten hole in another remind us that still life paintings embody underlying references to cycles of nature. Roesen trained as a china and enamel painter in Prussia (now Germany), eventually settling in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. His hyper-real still lifes were seen as representing nature’s abundance and the sanctity of the New World and graced many dining rooms in the homes of collectors who recognized his exceptional skill. Roesen’s work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Smithsonian American Art Museum.

For more, read the article that ARTFIXdaily and wrote about the acquisitions. Read the full press release here.