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Mountains to the Sea Exhibition at Washington County Museum of Fine Arts


A selection of landscape paintings highlighting scenes from across the country will be on view in the Kerstein Gallery at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown through September 21, 2003. Drawn from the Permanent Collection, this exhibition explores great American scenes from coast to coast painted during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Representing many states throughout the nation, the works span the country with images such as Rocky Mountains by Albert Bierstadt a gift of the Elsa Emma Pangborn Art Purchase Fund, Songo River, Maine by James Fairman given by Dr. Richard D. Robbins of Baltimore, Maryland in memory of Mrs. Betty Sumner Michael, New England Afternoon by Willard L. Metcalf given by Mr. & Mrs. William H. Singer, Jr. of Olden, Norway, The Desert, Arizona by Herbert Meyer donated by Mrs. Reginald Marsh of New York, New York and Albert L. Groll's Santa Fe, New Mexico given by Dr. & Mrs. Albert R. Miller, Jr. of Baltimore, Maryland.

Sweeping vistas of lush rolling hills, charming forests, flowing rivers and vast mountain ranges depict the beauty and diversity of nature in the United States. Many of the Museum's most prized works including Scene on Catskill Creek by Frederic E. Church, Lower Manhattan from Communipaw, New Jersey by Thomas Moran, Coming Storm, Montclair, New Jersey by George Inness and Encampment in the Redwoods by Jules Tavernier on loan from a private collector, are part of the exhibition.

Church was apprenticed to Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School of landscape painting. Church's realistically painted landscapes and sylvan views brought him praise and a large number of patrons. The landscape on view was painted in 1847 near Catskill, New York.

The latter part of Church's life, when his painting style had been eclipsed by Impressionism, was involved in designing Olana, his Persian-style villa on the Hudson. He was the youngest member ever accepted by the National Academy of Design in New York City and was elected to full membership in 1849.

Moran emigrated to Baltimore in 1844 from Lancashire, England, where he was born in 1837. He and his brothers settled in Philadelphia, where he had his first lessons from his older brother Edward Moran. Another brother, Peter, also became an artist and is known for his works of animals. Thomas Moran was living in Newark, New Jersey in the 1870s and 1880s, and the nearby sugar refineries frequently provided subject matter for his drawings, as did the area around the docks in Communipaw, now Jersey City.

Thomas eclipsed his brothers in artistic success and is best known for his romantic landscapes, especially western views of Yosemite. He visited the Rocky Mountains various times, and his drawings of Yellowstone were instrumental in having Congress declare the area our first national park in 1872. Moran excelled in capturing the spirit of a vast and still mysterious American West. He bathed his landscapes with various lighting effects to exude a special feeling. In 1916, he moved to Santa Barbara, California where he remained for the last ten years of his life.

A view of Louisiana by William Henry Buck, Near Hoboken by Bruce Crane, given to the Museum by Dr. and Mrs. Albert R. Miller, Jr., Baltimore, Maryland, a scene of Baltimore Harbor by J. Wilmer Gettier, View of the Cumberland Mountains by John Ross Key as well as scenes from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, California and Alaska are included. Eagle Point, Mississippi River (now a park area in Dubuque, Iowa) by John White Allen Scott donated by R. H. Love Galleries, Chicago, Illinois and The Old Sawmill, Maryland by John Robinson Tait complete the exhibition.


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