Monday, September 11, 2017

Church: A Painter's Pilgrimage


Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) 
Oct. 22, 2017 to Jan. 15, 2018

Reynolda House Museum of Art, Winston-Salem, NC
Feb. 8 to May 13, 2018 

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT 
June 2 to Aug. 26, 2018

“Church: A Painter’s Pilgrimage” focuses on American artist Frederic Church’s paintings done in the Middle East, Athens and Rome. Church was the most popular and financially successful painter in mid-19th-century America, best known for his large paintings of wild places in North and South America, the North Atlantic and the Caribbean. But from the late 1860s until the late 1870s, many of his most important paintings represented ancient cities or buildings that he had seen on his 1867 to 1869 trip to the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

While Church’s paintings of the Americas are primarily concerned with nature, his major paintings of Middle Eastern, Greek and Roman themes concentrate on human history. The exhibition compares numerous pencil drawings and oil studies that Church completed during his trip to the major paintings he completed back in his studio.

A catalog accompanies the exhibition.

This exhibition has been organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts. Generous support has been provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Henry Luce Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. A significant loan of objects has been provided by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.


  • “El Khasneh, Petra,” 1868, Frederic Church, brush and oil on paperboard. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York. Gift of Louis P. Church, 1917-4-485-a  

  • “Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives,” 1870, Frederic Church, oil on canvas. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri Gift of the Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation, F77–40/
 
  • “Olana from the Southwest,” about 1872, Frederic Church, oil on paperboard. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York. Gift of Louis P. Church, 1917-4-666  

  • “Parthenon at Night, Athens,” 1868, Frederic Church, oil and black chalk on paperboard. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York. Gift of Louis P. Church, OL.1917-4-671  
  • “Standing Bedouin,” 1868, Frederic Church, oil and graphite on paper. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum , New York. Gift of Louis P. Church, 1917-4-752-a  
 
 
 
  • “Syria by the Sea,” 1873, Frederic Church, oil on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts.  
 
  
 
  •  “The Parthenon,” 1871, Frederic Church, oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Bequest of Maria DeWitt Jesup, from the collection of her husband, Morris K. Jesup, 1914 (15.30.67) 
 
 
 
  •  “The Urn Tomb, Silk Tomb. and Corinthian Tomb, Petra,” 1868, Frederic Church, oil on paper mounted on canvas. Olana State Historic Site, Hudson, NY. New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. OL.1981.52 
 
 
  • “View of Baalbek,” 1868, Frederic Church, oil and pencil on board. Detroit Institute of Arts