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Visions of the Susquehanna
September 8 - December 2, 2007
This magnificent exhibition gathers two and a half centuries of art depicting the Susquehanna River from the eighteenth century to the present day. These paintings and watercolors depict the course of the river and its tributaries from Lake Otsego, New York, through Pennsylvania to the Chesapeake Bay at Havre de Grace, Maryland.
The exhibition mirrors the abiding love of the American landscape that characterizes the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. Many artists featured in the exhibition are also represented in the Museum's permanent collection. "Visions of the Susquehanna" features a rare 1767 landscape by famed artist Benjamin West (1738-1820) as well as depictions of the lovely green mountains and tree-lined shallows of the Susquehanna River basin by nineteenth-century masters such as George Inness (1825-1894) and twentieth- and twenty-first century artists like Stephen Hancock (b. 1951).
The human history of the river plays out across the nineteenth century in works by such major American artists as Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823-1900) and Thomas Moran (1837-1926) that show the growth of farms, towns, railroads and viaducts along the river. Shown above is "Starrucca Viaduct," an 1865 oil by Cropsey on loan from the Toledo Museum of Art, purchased with funds from the Florence Scott Libbey bequest, in memory of her father, Maurice A. Scott. Then in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, natural beauty vies with industrialization and pollution in paintings like a striking 2006 watercolor of a foundry by the river by Matthew Daub (b. 1953) and Rob Evans' (b. 1959) haunting 1997 depiction of flocks of birds migrating above a bridge over the river.
The exhibition is curated by scholar and artist Rob Evans, who grew up visiting his grandparents in the Susquehanna River valley and now lives and works by the river near Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. "Visions of the Susquehanna" is mounted by the Lancaster Museum of Art, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The lushly illustrated catalogue "Visions of the Susquehanna: 250 Years of Paintings by American Masters," featuring essays by Rob Evans, Leo G. Mazow and David B. Dearinger, will be available in the Museum Shop.
-- the above text is excerpted from the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts website.
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