I celebrated my birthday a few weeks ago and after lunch treated myself to the Hudson River School painting exhibition at the New York Historical Society. A modest show in a large hall. Largely B paintings by the big names but a few stellar showings. It’s been a while since the genre has been highlighted here, so any moisture in a desert.
The brightest moment of the exhibition for me was the inclusion of a very large painting by William Bradford. Bradford is an early 19th century American Romantic. One i didn’t know of. Or certainly by name. The painting was an icy landscape of the Norther Passage. I gather a very familiar motif for Bradford. And the palette was this bright cotton candy thing. Aside from the drastic hue shift, it could have easily been a Courbet painting. Though it would have to have pre-dated the Courbet sea paintings by probably 20-30 years. I’ll have to check that later but i think my accounting is correct. Gustave would have still been in his Social Realist phase that put him on the map.
Bradford’s “Summer in the Land of the Midnight Sun”. You can’t find it online anywhere so my snapshot will have to suffice. Apologies for the iphone shot and the vignetting. The security mongrols were fierce and committed. Size is approximately 6′ on the horizontal and the gilded ornate frame must have been 300 lbs.
*From the docent: “At the financial collapse of the early 19th century, unable to find commercial art work Asher B Durrand forgoes work as a commercial artist to follow Thomas Cole into a pursuit of landscape painting.”
*Review: The way Kensett transitions from background to middle ground. View of Cozzens Hites Near West Point.
terrible pic of it:
*Do all of William Sonntags paints excel with color sep and contrast. Re Morning in the Blue Ridge Mntns.
Sonntag example but not exact painting:
*Was Kensett the most zen of the Hudson River valley painters? re “Shrewsbury River, NJ” How much did the HRV painters know of Asian culture?