From the Schuylkill to the Hudson: Landscapes of the Early American Republic

From the Schuylkill to the Hudson: Landscapes of the Early American Republic

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA)

Thomas Birch, Fairmount Water Works, 1821. Oil on canvas, 20 1/8 x 30 1/16 inches. PAFA, Bequest of Charles Graff, 1845.1.

July 1, 2019
From the Schuylkill to the Hudson: Landscapes of the Early American Republic
June 28–December 29, 2019
Watercolors On the Water: July 13–August 10
Fairmount Water Works, 640 Waterworks Dr, Philadelphia, PA 19130
Talk and book signing: The Landscapes of a New Nation: September 28, 2–3pm
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA)
128 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102
United States
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The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is pleased to present From the Schuylkill to the Hudson: Landscapes of the Early American Republic on view June 28–December 29, 2019 in the Fisher Brooks Gallery in the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building.

Philadelphia’s key role in the growth of American landscape painting has never been the subject of a major museum exhibition. From the Schuylkill to the Hudson will delve into the important and underexplored tradition of landscape painting in Philadelphia from the Early American Republic to the Centennial Exhibition and how that tradition shaped the better-known Hudson River School in New York State. PAFA’s exhibition, along with the accompanying catalog, will illuminate the growth of the landscape genre from its roots, through its rise into the public consciousness, and as a leading area of art historical interest.

“I am thrilled to be able to take a deep dive into PAFA’s treasure trove of landscape paintings dating from the United States’ founding in 1776 to its Centennial in 1876,” said Dr. Anna O. Marley, Curator of Historical American Art at PAFA. “As a scholar of early American landscape in paintings as well as in the decorative arts, I am excited to share the untold story of Philadelphia’s role in the development of landscape representation in the United States. I hope this exhibition will appeal to audiences fascinated with the history of Philadelphia and its waterways, environmental and civic histories, and lovers of romantic American landscape painting.”

Thomas Cole—the acknowledged leader of what in the 1870s would come to be known as the Hudson River School of painting—began his career as a landscape painter after living and training in Philadelphia and at PAFA. During the time he spent in the city in the 1820s, he was influenced by the work of Thomas Doughty and Thomas Birch, whose American landscapes were on view at PAFA. Doughty and Birch were only two of many landscape painters living in and exhibiting their work in Philadelphia at the time, including Charles Willson PealeJames PealeWilliam Russell BirchJohn Lewis KrimmelJoshua ShawJacob Eichholtz, and Russell Smith, all of whom are in this exhibition. Indeed, PAFA has been exhibiting landscape paintings by American artists since its first annual exhibition in 1811, a full 15 years before the founding of the so-called “Hudson River School.”

From the Schuylkill to the Hudson will showcase the manner in which Philadelphia water views—whether of the Schuylkill, Wissahickon, or Delaware—constituted some of the earliest and most influential sites within American visual culture.

The superlative works in the exhibition will be drawn primarily from PAFA’s outstanding permanent collection—along with select public and private local collections—underlining the key role Philadelphia, and PAFA itself, played in the development of landscape painting in America.

A highlight of the exhibition will be a group of major Hudson River School paintings acquired by PAFA over the last 10 years, including works by Thomas ColeAlbert BierstadtDavid JohnsonFrederic Church, and Thomas Moran. In addition to exhibiting paintings and prints, From the Schuylkill to the Hudson: Landscapes of the Early American Republic will share with visitors the broader story of landscape representation in Philadelphia by including decorative ceramics produced both locally and globally.

The lavishly-illustrated accompanying catalog will include an essay on landscape representation in Philadelphia in painting and decorative arts by Dr. Marley, and an essay on the shifting symbolism of waterways in early American print culture by Ramey Mize, a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Dr. Marley’s exhibition is an almost radical proposition for American art history because she is arguing for an expanded understanding of landscape painting in America and showing us that Philadelphia has an established tradition before New York,” said PAFA’s Brooke Davis Anderson, Edna S. Tuttleman Director of the Museum. “I am looking forward to the debate and conversation this exhibition invites.”

Etch and Flow, a companion exhibition to From the Schuykill to the Hudson, will feature prints by artists associated with the American Etching Revival and Impressionism—including James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Thomas Moran, Mary Nimmo Moran, Margaret M. Taylor, Edith Loring Peirce, Childe Hassam, and Daniel Garber. The installation will be on view in the Richard C. von Hess Foundation Works on Paper Gallery in PAFA’s Historic Landmark Building from June 28–December 29, 2019.

From the Schuylkill to the Hudson: Landscapes of the Early American Republic is made possible by the Henry Luce Foundation. Major support is provided by the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, Inc. Leadership support is provided by Julie and James Alexandre, and Bowman Properties, Ltd. Generous support is provided by Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., Louisa C. Duemling, the Newington-Cropsey Foundation, and Dorothy and Ken Woodcock.  Additional support is provided by the Foundation for Landscape Studies, Furthermore Program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, and the PAFA Annual Exhibition Fund.

Historic Exhibitions in 2019–20 are supported by The Templeton Family.

Special Exhibitions in 2019–20 are supported by Jonathan L. Cohen.

Etch and Flow is supported by 2019–20 Works on Paper Exhibition Season sponsors Linda Seyda and Robert Boris and by a grant from the IFPDA Foundation. Additional support is provided by the PAFA Annual Exhibition Fund.

About PAFA
Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is America’s first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the fine arts, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and a world-class collection of American art. PAFA’s esteemed alumni include Mary Cassatt, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Thomas Eakins, William Glackens, Barkley L. Hendricks, Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.

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Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA)
July 1, 2019

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