The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Exhibition of maps and books from the collection of J. C. McElveen Jr. on view at the Grolier Club
Woodblock poster. Nottingham, England: Stafford & Co. (c. 1875). After the John Gast painting American Progress (1872). Collection of J.C.McElveen.

NEW YORK, NY.- Exploring and settling the American West can be seen graphically in "Westward the Course of Empire”: Exploring and Settling the American West 1803-1869,” an exhibition of maps and books from the collection of J. C. McElveen Jr., on view at the Grolier Club, NYC, through May 26, 2018.

“I have always loved American history, and maps have been a useful way for me to visualize battles, explorations and demographic changes. Maps also convey a tremendous amount of information in a very compact way,” notes Mr. McElveen. Installed in the second floor gallery, the 50 maps and 20 books in the show focus primarily on those maps that illustrate who went west in the 19th century and why.

The earliest map in the exhibition is Girolamo Ruscelli’s” Nueeva Hispania Tabula Nova” printed in Venice in1574. It, and other 16th and 17th century maps depict what people who had never seen the West thought it might look like. Even as late as the 18th century, very little was actually known about the American West. A representative example is the 1720 map “A New Map of the North Parts of America Claimed by France” by Herman Moll, a German living in England. Later 18th century maps of North America continued to perpetuate many of these mysteries. Even at the beginning of the 19th century, essentially all that was known about the American West was what Spanish and a few French, explorers had revealed.

However, in the 19th century, the exploration and settlement of the West exploded. In the 58 years between the Louisiana Purchase and the Civil War, the United States expanded from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, and, in the far West, from the 32nd Parallel to the 49th Parallel. This expansion encompassed the 828,000 square mile Louisiana Territory, Texas, the Oregon Territory and the old Spanish Southwest. By the late 1850s, almost all of these areas had been mapped, explored, and many had been surveyed and settled.

One of the most iconic maps in the exhibit is Lewis and Clark's map of the Northwest, “A Map of Lewis and Clark’s Track Across the Western Portion of North America, from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean, by Order of the Executive of the United States,” created during their expedition to the Pacific in 1804-1806. It was not published until 1814, but it remained the standard against which all mapping of that part of North America was measured for decades.

Another Western map of note is by Zebulon Pike who discovered "Pike's Peak", which he named "Highest Peak" (of the Rocky Mountains, which it isn't). Pike's journal, published in 1810, is the first to show that landmark.

Many maps and books were done for people heading west along the Oregon, Santa Fe, Mormon and California Trails. Two examples are Charles Preuss’ 1846 “Topographical Map of the Road from Missouri to Oregon” and Randolph B. Marcy’s 1859 “ The Prairie Traveler. A Hand-Book for Overland Expeditions.” They provided valuable information about climate, terrain, water availability, wood, campsites, and potentially hostile Native Americans. John C. Fremont was a well-known western explorer in the 1840s. His “Map of an Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains in the Year 1842…” and books (probably substantially contributed to by his wife) inspired many migrants to the West, including the Mormons.

When gold was discovered, everyone wanted to know where it was. One example in the show is William T. Sherman’s “Positions of the Upper and Lower Gold Mines on the South Fork of the American River, California, July 20, 1848.”

“Some explorers are famous for their explorations, like Lewis and Clark, Zebulon Pike, John C. Fremont and Brigham Young. Other explorers are famous, as well, but for other reasons – like William Tecumseh Sherman and George McClellan. But the vast number of this hardy group were ordinary folks with a desire or a need to go west into an often harsh and brutal unknown. Why did they do it? The reasons range from a desire to get rich to escaping religious persecution to building a better life,” comments J.C. McElveen.

Today's News

April 3, 2018

Artemis Gallery to auction exceptional antiquities, ethnographic art

Christie's New York announces highlights from the Spring sale of Prints & Multiples

Frist Center announces new name and visual brand identity

Gardner Museum publishes "Stolen" book about 13 works in 1990 theft

'NYPD Blue' creator Steven Bochco dead at 74

Chinese Calligraphy scrolls sell for $269,000 at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers' March Asian Works of Art Sale

Galerie Guido W. Baudach exhibits works by Aida Ruilova

ANSORENA and PIASA to offer 1500-lots sale of beautiful items from Hotel Ritz, Madrid

American University Museum spring shows feature science and art entangled, Zapotec myth and magic, among others

Patrick Nagel Artwork poised to battle for top spots in April 24 Heritage Auctions' Illustration Art Auction

Fralin Museum of Art Director position endowed through new major gift to University of Virginia

Exhibition of maps and books from the collection of J. C. McElveen Jr. on view at the Grolier Club

Southampton Arts Center hires Tom Dunn as Executive Director

Photographs shine at Swann Galleries' African Americana Auction

New ReACT Gallery exhibition on First Amendment opened today

Milestone Auctions to host April 14 Vintage Toys & Trains Spectacular

"Blueprint for Counter Education" on view at Rose Art Museum

Klingon killers: Star Trek visual effects master to auction private collection

Bill Scott solo show features twenty five recent paintings

"Hirshhorn in the City" debuts 1980s-inspired posters by Washington artists on streets of DC

Exhibition presents an exceptional collection of artefacts that belonged to a powerful caste of governors

A new coffee table book of photography illuminates the stories hiding in Chicago's cemeteries

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Rare 1943 Lincoln Cent sells for $204,000 at Heritage Auctions

2.- Exhibition is the first to shed light on the phenomenon of the princely painter

3.- Nathaniel Silver named new Curator of the Collection at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

4.- Rijksmuseum van Oudheden explores the mystical world of the ancient Egyptian gods

5.- Media error draws misleading reports on sale of 1943 Bronze Lincoln Cent

6.- Four men deny giant gold coin heist from Berlin's Bode Museum

7.- Tanya Bonakdar Gallery presents an immersive installation by Charles Long

8.- Egypt says stolen pharaonic tablet repatriated from United Kingdom

9.- Israeli museum under fire over 'McJesus' exhibit

10.- Claremont Rug Company founder Jan David Winitz reveals major shifts in high-end antique Oriental rug market

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful