BOSTON, MA.- The Boston AthenŠum
will present George Pope Morris: Defining American Culture an exhibition of paintings, prints, photographs, letters, books, periodicals, and sheet music representing Morriss pioneering achievements as a writer, poet, critic, journalist, and publisher. The exhibition opens Sept. 23 and runs through Dec. 5, 2009.
This exhibition will investigate the various aspects of Morriss career and his role as a major force in cultivating American literary taste and providing venues for the works of American writers and artists. It will also place Morris in the geographical context of the Hudson River Valley where he lived and was the neighbor of writers and artists such as Washington Irving, James Kirke Paulding, and Thomas Cole.
From 1823 to 1846, George Pope Morris (1802 1864) was editor and publisher of the New-York Mirror, the New Mirror, the Evening Mirror, and the Home Journal, which was the journalistic ancestor of the magazine Town and Country. The Mirror was the most popular literary journal of its time, with a peak circulation by the mid 1830s of about 10,000. In his various journals, Morris published the writings of William Cullen Bryant, Lydia Maria Child, Fitz-Greene Halleck, Charles Fenno Hoffman, Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, and Nathaniel Parker Willis, and even serialized the works of Charles Dickens. Morris himself was the author of dozens of critical articles, poems, and popular songs. As a friend and supporter of American artists such as Asher Durand and Thomas Cole, he played a key role in the development and promotion of the Hudson River School as the first major movement in the history of American art.
George Pope Morris is one of those fascinating, multi-talented figures from our cultural history who has, unfairly, been largely forgotten, says David Dearinger, Curator of Paintings and Sculpture at the Athenaeum. During his lifetime, Morris had a wide influence as a journalist and cultural patron, but he also left an impressive body of his own work in the form of poetry and music. It is hoped that this exhibition and its accompanying catalogue will go some distance in restoring Morris to his proper place in the history of antebellum America.