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Crystal Bridges hosts exhibition exploring landscape painting across the Western Hemisphere
Albert Bierstadt, Yosemite Valley, 1868. Oil on canvas, 54 1/4 × 72 1/2 in. Collection of the Oakland Museum of California, gift of Miss Marguerite Laird in memory of Mr. and Mrs. P.W. Laird.

BENTONVILLE, ARK.- Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announces a new exhibition, Picturing the Americas: Landscape Painting from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic, on view November 7, 2015 - January 18, 2016.

Crystal Bridges is the only U.S. venue to host Picturing the Americas, the first exhibition to explore the evolution of landscape painting from the early nineteenth century to the early twentieth century in an inclusive, hemispheric context. Picturing the Americas was organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, and the Terra Foundation for American Art. The exhibition arrives at Crystal Bridges from the Art Gallery of Ontario and will then travel to the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo.

The exhibition was co-curated by Peter John Brownlee, Curator of the Terra Foundation for American Art; Valéria Piccoli, Chief Curator of the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo; and Georgiana Uhlyarik, the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Associate Curator of Canadian Art.

“This exhibition gives visitors a platform to go beyond territorial boundaries and expand conversations and connections to landscape painting across the Americas,” says Rod Bigelow, Crystal Bridges Executive Director. “It’s an honor to be the only U.S. museum where visitors can see this stunning exhibition, which connects deeply with the mission of Crystal Bridges to celebrate art and nature.”

Picturing the Americas invites viewers to traverse a vast and magnificent land mass that extends from Canada’s Arctic to the icy tip of Argentina and Chile to see the landscape anew through more than 100 oil paintings, watercolors, and prints. The exhibition includes works by well-known American landscape painters, Frederic E. Church, Martin Johnson Heade, and Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as masters from both North and South America, such as Jose Maria Velasco (Mexico), Juan Manuel Blanes (Uruguay), Lawren Harris (Canada), and Tarsila do Amaral (Brazil). Landscape imagery from the early nineteenth century to the early twentieth century shows connections and continuities through shared history and land, while also celebrating distinctions.

“This exhibition brings together iconic works from different parts of the hemisphere, causing us to pause and consider what it means to be “American” in the most-expansive sense of the word,” says Crystal Bridges Curator, Mindy Besaw.

Highlights of the exhibition include, from South America, a depiction of Rio de Janiero, Félix-Émile Taunay’s Baia de Guanabara Vista da Ilha das Cobras, c. 1830; from the U.S., Albert Bierstadt’s Yosemite Valley, 1868; and Emily Carr’s Inside a Forest II, 1929-1930, from Canada.

“Throughout the journey, visitors will see how landscape painting across the Americas corresponds with emerging settler nations asserting their independence. As the colonies matured into nations, artists moved toward painting more personal representations of the landscape. The exhibition also helps us reflect on ways nature has shaped our identities and confronts a history of contentious colonization,” says Besaw.

Crystal Bridges curators invited Candessa Teehee, PhD, Executive Director of the Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, to add a Native American perspective to the exhibition, presented throughout the gallery in didactic material.

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