The Poetry of Nature: Hudson River School Landscapes from the New-York Historical Society

Asher Brown Durand (1796–1886), Tree Study, Newburgh, N.Y., 1849. Oil on canvas. The New-York Historical Society, Gift of Nora Durand Woodman, 1932.49
Fri, 09/29/2017 - Sun, 12/31/2017
Scheller and Fowler Galleries

Vast primal landscapes. Awe-inspiring vistas. Sunlight-infused rivers, forests, and rocky cliffs. The nineteenth century brought a new art movement to America—one that was uniquely its own, celebrating the young nation’s stunning natural beauty and emerging identity.

The Hudson River School, a loosely knit group of painters, writers, and poets, shook off the shackles of European artistic influences and declared their cultural independence. Reigning for more than fifty years, the artists in this movement found their inspiration in the grand scenery along the Hudson River and in the Catskill, Adirondack, and White Mountain ranges and, later on, in the seemingly endless frontier of the far West. These artists have been called our first conservationists. Recognizing the threat of impending industrial progress, they dedicated themselves to exploring and preserving the unspoiled American landscape.

The Poetry of Nature, comprised of some forty paintings by twenty-five artists ranging in date from 1818 to 1886, features a variety of important paintings conceived in the style of the Hudson River School. Bound by common purpose, these New York City–based painters often carved literal paths to remote and perilous sketching locations. Explore the confluence and tributaries of their artistic expression in this naturally wondrous exhibit.

This exhibition, organized by the New-York Historical Society, is presented in honor of the art historian Dr. Martha Hutson-Saxton.


The Poetry of Nature is supported through the generosity of the Allentown Art Museum Auxiliary, Amaranth Foundation and Joan Miller Moran, Curtis H. and Joanne Barnette, William and Mary Ann Heydt, Nancy Light, Dr. J. Robert and Sandra Lovett, Sam and Missy Saxton, and Rita and Joseph Scheller.

The exhibition program at the Museum is supported through the generosity of the Harry C. Trexler Trust, Julius and Katheryn Hommer Foundation, The Century Fund, Bernard and Audrey Berman Foundation, Leon C. and June W. Holt Endowment, Martin Guitar Charitable Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Friends of the Museum.

William Louis Sonntag (1822-1900), Morning in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Va., ca. 1858. Oil on canvas. The New-York Historical Society, The Robert L. Stuart Collection, the gift of his widow Mrs. Mary Stuart, S-107

Louisa Davis Minot (1788–1858), Niagara Falls, 1818. Oil on canvas. The New-York Historical Society, Gift of Mrs. Waldron Phoenix Belknap, Sr., to the Waldron Phoenix Belknap, Jr.,Collection, 1956, 1956.3


Albert Bierstadt (1830–1902), Autumn Woods, 1886. Oil on linen. The New-York Historical Society, Gift of Mrs. Albert Bierstadt, 1910.11