Frye Art Museum

photo by Jill Berarducci

Seattle, Washington

(206) 622-9250


This Tranquil Land: Hudson River Paintings from the Hersen Collection

January 22 - April 16, 2000


The Hudson River School is a uniquely American movement: at the height of the Hudson River School (1820s-1840s) there were 500 to 600 artists that celebrated the spiritual side of nature through lush romantic landscapes. Many of the Hudson River school artists will be represented at the Frye Art Museum beginning January 22, 2000 in a rare jewel of an exhibition from the Hersen family's private collection.

The Hersen family have long been avid collectors of this period and their comprehensive private collection provides a rare glimpse of the movement in its entirety, from little-known and forgotten artists (John Williamson) to heavily collected, familiar names, such as Asher B. Durand.

The richly painted romantic landscapes in This Tranquil Land: Hudson River Paintings from the Hersen Collection, refer to a time when the American landscape was unmarred by development. These paintings have in the past been described as nationalist and sentimental, however, in recent years these works have gained respect as a uniquely American school of art. Hudson River paintings represent beauty and the philosophical ideal that nature embodies a spirituality and immensity that places humanity in perspective. (left: William McDougal Hunt (1823-1894), Adirondack Landscape (detail), c. 1862, oil on canvas, 10 x 8 inches)

Contemporary artists and historians appreciate the paintings today as images of a lost American pre-industrial paradise. Environmentalists, concerned for America's natural environment, are inspired by the depictions of nature's inherent beauty.

The distinctively American characteristics of the paintings allow the Hudson River School to stand on its own. Collector Michel Hersen hopes that, "The exhibition serves to generate further scholastic interest in the yet untapped vault of the Hudson River treasure trove." The exhibition is organized by the Frye Art Museum with permission from Victoria J. and Michel Hersen. (right: William McDougal Hunt (1823-1894), Grand Manan at Sunset, c.1860, oil on panel, 6 1/4 x 5 1/4 inches)

Read more in Resource Library Magazine about the Frye Art Museum.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 12/23/10

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