Editor's note: The New Britain Museum of American Art provided source material to Resource Library for the following article or essay. If you have questions or comments regarding the source material, please contact the New Britain Museum of American Art directly through either this phone number or web address:



For Spacious Skies: Hudson River School Paintings from the Henry and Sharon Martin Collection

June 11 - Sept. 25, 2005


A remarkable collection of Hudson River School Paintings assembled by Henry and Sharon Martin of Litchfield County, CT will be on view at the New Britain Museum of American Art this summer in an exhibition of works by such well-known artists as Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Jasper Cropsey, Frederic Edwin Church, Sanford Robinson Gifford, John Frederick Kensett and Martin Johnson Heade. (right: Martin Johnson Heade, Lynn Meadows, Mass., c. 1871-75, oil on artist's board, 7 7/8 x 16 inches, collection of Henry and Sharon Martin)

For Spacious Skies: Hudson River School Paintings from the Henry and Sharon Martin Collection will be on view from June 11 through Sept. 25, 2005.

Represented in the exhibition are 16 paintings by Hudson River School artists who are well-known for recording American scenery, capturing its shifting seasonal light and changing climatic conditions with honesty and vitality.

Hudson River School paintings "resound with ambition, manifest moral character, and reflect brilliant optimism ­ qualities all abundant in the Martins' excellent collection," said NBMAA Director Douglas Hyland.

The Martin collection focuses on the Luminist phase of the Hudson River School practiced principally during the 1850s-70s. During this era, landscape painters created panoramic views noteworthy for their manipulation of natural light, creating majestic skies and sweeping vistas.

"Their effect on the viewer is pure joy," Hyland noted.

The NBMAA exhibition is curated by Kevin Sharp, director of Visual Arts at Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mt. Vernon, Ill., who is also author of the catalogue bearing the same title as the exhibition. The catalogue features an introduction by John Wilmerding, Christopher Binyon Sarofim '86 Professor in American Art, Professor of Art and Archeology, Princeton University.

The Martins began collecting fine art 25 years ago, with an emphasis on smaller works painted directly from nature. These smaller Hudson River School works offer "a special freshness of vision, an energy of execution, and immediacy of effect" whereas the larger canvases tended to be completed in the studio as exhibition pieces, said Wilmerding, a nationally known scholar of American landscape paintings.

Henry Martin, who is a Museum trustee, and Louis Salerno of the Questroyal Fine Art gallery, who has helped the Martins assemble their collection, will speak about the collection and the art of collecting at the Museum on July 21. The program will begin with refreshments at 5:30 p.m., followed by the gallery talk from 6 to 7 p.m.


Charles B. Ferguson Lecture Series Focuses on Hudson River School

The Museum also will continue its distinguished Charles B. Ferguson Lecture Series this summer with programs related to the exhibition For Spacious Skies: Hudson River School Paintings from the Henry and Sharon Martin Collection.

The programs will include the following speakers:

Tuesday, June 14: Kevin Sharp, director of Visual Arts at Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, Mt. Vernon, Ill. His talk is entitled: Sanford R. Gifford Goes to Church (and Vice Versa): An Antebellum Artistic Dialogue
At Cedarhurst, Sharp cares for the museum's extraordinary collection of American paintings and oversees a 90-acre sculpture park. In 2004, he was guest curator and the author of A Wilder Image Bright: Hudson River School Paintings from the Manoogian Collection for the Vero Beach Museum of Art in Florida. His current exhibition and catalogue is For Spacious Skies: Hudson River School Paintings from the Henry and Sharon Martin Collection for the New Britain Museum of American Art. From 1998 until 2003, he was Curator of American Art at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Fla. From 1988 until 1998, he was a Research Curator at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he co-organized retrospectives devoted to Mary Cassatt (1998) and Odilon Redon (1994), and was co-author of the catalogue raisonné of the lithographs of James Whistler (1998).
Tuesday, Aug. 9: Elliot Bostwick Davis, John Moors Cabot Chair, Art of the Americas at the Museum of Fine Arts Title of talk TBA
Davis has been the John Moors Cabot Chair, Art of the Americas at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston since 2001. From 1992-2000, she served as assistant curator in the departments of Drawings and Prints and of American Painting and Sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She holds a Ph.D. in Art History and Archeology from Columbia University and an A.B. in Art and Archeology from Princeton and was trained in life drawing and printmaking at the Art Students League. Her extensive honors include fellowships from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Antiquarian Society, and awards from Harvard and Columbia Universities. Davis is a trustee of the Shelburne Museum, the New York Academy of Art and Groton School.
Wednesday, Aug. 17: Peter Rathbone, senior vice president and director American Paintings and Sculpture, Sotheby's, New York. His talk is entitled: The Evolution of the American Painting Market Over the Last 30 Years
A graduate of Boston University with a degree in art history, Rathbone joined Sotheby's New York in 1972 and became director of the American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture department in 1976. During his tenure, Rathbone has orchestrated the sale of such outstanding single-owner collections as the John F. Eulich Collection, the Collection of the Masco Corporation and the IBM Collection, in which six works exceeded $1 million. In December 1999, he oversaw the record-setting sales of George Bellows's Polo Crowd, which fetched $27.5 million, establishing a new world record for an American painting at auction and Winslow Homer's The Red Canoe, which achieved the record price of $4.8 million for an American watercolor.
Thursday, Sept.15: Dr. John Wilmerding, Christopher Binyon Sarofim '86 Professor in American Art, Professor of Art and Archeology, Princeton University. His talk is entitled: Life and Death in American Landscape Painting
Wilmerding is a major contributor to the catalogue accompanying For Spacious Skies: Hudson River School Paintings from the Henry and Sharon Martin Collection, which will be on view at the NBMAA at the time of his talk. He is visiting curator in the Department of American Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was formerly senior curator of American Art and Deputy Director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where he organized the landmark exhibition American Light: The Luminist Movement in 1980. He holds an A.B., A.M. and Ph.D. from Harvard University and was on the faculty of Dartmouth College for 12 years.


Also on exhibit:

Childhood innocence and its loss as expressed in American painting, sculpture, prints, and photography is the theme of Innocence, an exhibition that will be on view at the NBMAA from June 25 through September 18, 2005. (right: Winslow Homer, Little Shepherdess, 1878, watercolor on paper, 11 3/4 x 8 3/4 inches, collection of Cheryl Chase and Stuart Bear)

Represented in the exhibition are 65 works by such renowned artists as George Inness, Mary Cassatt, John Singleton Copley, Winslow Homer, Willard Metcalf, Helen Levitt, and Sally Mann.

Innocence concentrates on depictions of babies, children, and teenagers at work and play in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries in social, domestic, and work settings and traces the development of youth from infancy to young adulthood. This exhibition illustrates how youngsters react to the world surrounding them and how they confront their loss of innocence as they discover the uncertainties of early adulthood.

Innocence represents a wide variety of works of art ranging from Mary Cassatt's tender, intimate portraits of mothers and children to the provocative, sensual photographs of Sally Mann and Jock Sturgess. Innocence also contrasts Winslow Homer's bucolic, peaceful scenes of play, courtship, and leisure with Helen Levitt's and Lewis Hine's personal images of working-class children.

The exhibition is curated by Daniel Fulco, assistant to NBMAA Director Douglas Hyland, and includes works from private collections, the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, Hollis Taggart Galleries of New York, Laurence Miller Gallery of New York, the Alpha Gallery of Boston, as well as the NBMAA's permanent collection.



(above: Mary Stevenson Cassatt, A Caress, 1891, pastel on paper, 29 1/4 x 23 3/4 inches, NBMAA collection)


Editor's note: RL readers may also enjoy these earlier articles and essays:

and this video:

Hudson River and its Painters, The is a 57 minute 1988 video from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Series released by Home Vision Entertainment. The mid-nineteenth century saw the growth of America's first native school of landscape painters, artists inspired by the compelling beauty of the Hudson River Valley, who portrayed this and other romantic wilderness areas with an almost mystical reverence. This 57 minute video explores the life and work of the major artists of what came to be known as the Hudson River School -- Thomas Cole, Asher Durand, Frederic Church, Albert Bierstadt, John Kensett, Jasper Cropsey, Worthington Whittredge, Sanford Gifford, and George Inness. Although its members traveled widely, the growth and development of the school were centered around New York City, and its success reflected the ambitions of the youthful American nation. It presents more than 200 paintings, prints and photographs of the period and juxtaposes them with dramatic location photography of the Hudson River area. The Hudson Company in association with The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

"The film highlights W. M. Chase's years at Shinnecock, on Long Island, NY, where in 1891 the artist established the first important outdoor summer school of art in America. Images of Chase's paintings and archival photographs--many of the artist's studios--are combined with footage of the hills and beaches at Shinnecock and of Chase's house and studio as they are today." (text courtesy Georgia Museum of Art)


Also see the Hudson River School Painters article from AskArt.com accompanied by a list of notable Hudson Rive School artists.

rev. 7/15/05

Links to sources of information outside of our web site are provided only as referrals for your further consideration. Please use due diligence in judging the quality of information contained in these and all other web sites. Information from linked sources may be inaccurate or out of date. Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc. (TFAO) neither recommends or endorses these referenced organizations. Although TFAO includes links to other web sites, it takes no responsibility for the content or information contained on those other sites, nor exerts any editorial or other control over them. For more information on evaluating web pages see TFAO's General Resources section in Online Resources for Collectors and Students of Art History.

Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the New Britian Museum of American Art in Resource Library.

Visit the Table of Contents for Resource Library for thousands of articles and essays on American art.

Copyright 2005 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved..