PHILADELPHIA, PA.- The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
is presenting From the Schuylkill to the Hudson: Landscapes of the Early American Republic on view June 28December 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 delves 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, 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 Colethe acknowledged leader of what in the 1870s would come to be known as the Hudson River School of paintingbegan 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 Peale, James Peale, William Russell Birch, John Lewis Krimmel, Joshua Shaw, Jacob 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 showcases the manner in which Philadelphia water viewswhether of the Schuylkill, Wissahickon, or Delawareconstituted some of the earliest and most influential sites within American visual culture.
The superlative works in the exhibition have been drawn primarily from PAFA's outstanding permanent collectionalong with select public and private local collectionsunderlining the key role Philadelphia, and PAFA itself, played in the development of landscape painting in America.
A highlight of the exhibition are major Hudson River School paintings acquired by PAFA over the last 10 years, including works by Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt, David Johnson, Frederic 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 includes 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."