Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Albert Bierstadt in New York & New England

On exhibition April 28 – November 3, 2013 at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site

Albert Bierstadt, Mt. Ascutney from Claremont, New Hampshire, 1862. Oil on canvas. 40 1⁄2 x 70 1⁄2 inches. Courtesy Fruitlands Museum, MA

On Sunday, April 28th the Thomas Cole National Historic Site , home and studio of the founder of the Hudson River School, will celebrate the opening of their 2013 exhibition Albert Bierstadt in New York & New England.

Albert Bierstadt
Fishing Station, Watch Hill
Oil on paper mounted on canvas
14 1/2 x 9 inches
Private Collection

For the forthcoming exhibition and accompanying illustrated catalogue, guest curator, Annette Blaugrund, former director of the National Academy Museum, will focus on Albert Bierstadt’s east coast paintings. While Bierstadt is best known for his iconic images of the American West, this exhibition will offer a rare chance to see the artist’s faithful depictions of botanical and geological details in the unspoiled wilderness, mountains, and meadows in the White Mountains, Hudson Valley, and in New England and New York.

Albert Bierstadt
Bears in the White Mountains, c.1870
Oil on paper mounted on board
4 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches
Courtesy John and Donna Ross

Both large and small scale paintings were composed between the late 1850s and 1880s, often while the artist was selecting aesthetic sites for his brothers Charles and Edward to photograph for their stereographs. Having previously written about Bierstadt in her book on the Tenth Street Studio Building, where the artist worked for almost twenty years, Dr. Blaugrund will also tie in Bierstadt’s studios in New York City, Westchester, and Oneida County as they relate to his work.

Albert Bierstadt
Autumn in the Conway Meadow Looking toward Mount Washington, 1858
Oil on canvas
19 x 28 inches
Signed and dated lower right: A Bierstadt 1858
Courtesy Estate of the Price Family

Albert Bierstadt (1830 – 1902) was one of the most renowned landscape painters in the United States during the nineteenth century. Born in Germany to a family who emigrated to New Bedford, MA in 1832, Bierstadt was the epitome of the American success story, achieving fame and fortune through his dramatic panoramic paintings of the far west. Less known are his vibrant oil sketches and finished paintings of the White Mountains, Niagara Falls, the Catskills, and more in New York and New England, areas to which he returned time and again. At the height of his career in the 1860s and 1870s, Bierstadt's paintings attracted an international audience and set record prices. By the 1880s interest in Hudson River School paintings waned and Bierstadt's career plummeted. From rags to riches and back again, Bierstadt died in virtual obscurity in 1902.

About the Curator

Annette Blaugrund has published and lectured widely on diverse subjects in American art. She was formerly the director of the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts (1997‐2007), and before that the Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator at the New‐York Historical Society. For her many exhibitions and catalogues she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy in 2008, and was named a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government in 1992, among other honors. Dr. Blaugrund currently sits on several boards, writes essays for museum catalogues, and consults with museums and foundations across the country. She holds a Ph.D. in art history from Columbia University (1987) where for six years she taught American art and culture (1996‐2001). Currently she sits on the Advisory Council of Columbia's Art History department and is heading a graduate art history class to mentor students.

Albert Bierstadt in New York & New England is the 10th annual presentation of 19th century landscape paintings at the Thomas Cole site, and an exhibition program that looks to foster discussion and understanding of the influence of Thomas Cole on American culture through a generation of artists known as the Hudson River School.

About the Thomas Cole National Historic Site

The Thomas Cole National Historic Site preserves and interprets the home and studios of Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School of painting, the nation's first art movement. Cole's profound influence on America's cultural landscape inspires us to engage broad audiences through educational programs that are relevant today. The Thomas Cole Historic House is an independent non‐profit organization and an affiliate of the National Park Service.
DIRECTIONS: The Thomas Cole Historic Site is located in the scenic Hudson River Valley, at 218 Spring Street in Catskill, New York. Located near the western entrance to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, with easy access from the New York State Thruway exit 21 or Amtrak train service in Hudson, detailed directions and more information can be found at www.thomascole.org or call 518‐943‐7465.

Albert Bierstadt, Autumn Landscape, New England, circa 1880

HOURS: The house is open for tours from 10 to 4pm, Wednesday through Sunday, May through November 3, 2013. Grounds are free and open to the public.

Albert Bierstadt, New Craft Glen, New England, circa 1880