If any of the previous articles on the Hudson River School (HRS) has wet your appetite for the real thing, you’re in luck. There are a number of great galleries in the New England area that have the works of Bierstadt, Church, Cole and others on display. In this article I’ll list the New England/New York art galleries I’ve visited, leaving the best (Olana, the home of Frederick Edwin Church) for last.
Currier Museum of Art: 150 Ash Street, Manchester, NH. “A deep European & American art collection from Monet to O'Keeffe plus decorative works in vast digs.” The Currier has works by Cole, Church, Bierstadt, Cropsey and others. My favorite is “Torre dei Schavi, Roman Campagna”, a smaller work by Sanford Robinson Gifford.
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art: 600 Main Street, Hartford, CT. “Over 50,000 American, European & contemporary works of art, including a costume & textiles exhibit.” Huge, with several rooms dedicated to the Hudson River School. There are over 65 pieces of HRS art here, including Cole’s “Kaaterskill Falls” and a woodland scene by William Trost Richards.
New Britain Museum of American Art: 56 Lexington Street, New Britain, CT. “Museum showcasing American art through the ages with more than 10,000 paintings, sculptures & more.” A smallish collection that contains a couple of pleasant surprises … “Sunday Morning” by Asher Brown Durand and Bierstadt’s “Seal Rock”. Bonus … the museum is adjacent to Walnut Hill Park, designed by the great landscape artist Frederick Law Olmstead. Visit Walnut Hill Park when the roses are in bloom.
Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center: 124 Raymond Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY. “Art museum, gallery & exhibit space at Vassar College featuring paintings, ceramics & photography.” On the grounds of Vassar College. Fav was a familiar scene for me … “Chocorua Lake and Mountain” by Aaron Shattuck.
Albany Institute of History & Art: 125 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY. “Venerable museum exploring local history & culture via paintings, furnishings & historical objects.” The Institute has over 80 works by well and lesser known HRS painters. If you have enjoyed the scenery around Lake George, NY, and the New Hampshire notches, this is the place for you.
Olana State Historic Site: 5720 NY-9G, Hudson, NY.
126 acres of HudsonRiver-facing land (think views of the river, the Catskill and Taconic Mountains) containing a villa, parkland, and a working farm. The property of Frederick Edwin Church, arguably one of the greatest HRS painters. He designed the landscape, collaborated with an architect on the villa (the Middle Eastern influence is amazing!), incorporated scenic carriage roads and resting places for those walking the grounds. The interior is decorated with objects from his travels (an amazing mix of items from the American West, South America and the Middle East) and more than 40 paintings by Church and his friends. Olana is a U.S. National Historic Landmark; the site is managed by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Hope you enjoyed this! Be well and stay safe.
Note: Descriptions in quotes of the galleries are Google Map overviews.