Vast primal landscapes. Awe-inspiring vistas. Sunlight-infused rivers, forests, and rocky cliffs. The 19th 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, 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 40 paintings by 25 artists ranging in date from 1818 to 1886, featured 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 paths—literally—to remote and perilous sketching locations. Explore the confluence and tributaries of their artistic expression in this naturally wondrous exhibit.

This exhibition has been organized by the New-York Historical Society.

It was presented in honor of the art historian Dr. Martha Hutson-Saxton.

The Poetry of Nature was 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 Friends of the Museum.