Terra Museum of American Art

Chicago, IL

312-664-3939



 

In Search of The Promised Land: Paintings by Frederic Edwin Church

 

Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900) remains one of America's most esteemed landscape painters, famous for his highly detailed canvases of such exotic locations as the Near East, the Arctic, and the South American tropics, replete with volcanoes and waterfalls.

Some 52 of his dramatic canvases and smaller works will be featured in the exhibition, "In Search of The Promised Land: Paintings by Frederic Edwin Church," to open Saturday, August 5, 2000 at Terra Museum of American Art. The exhibition, which overlaps with the ongoing The American West: Out of Myth, Into Reality, will be on view through Sunday, October 1, 2000.

Dr. Gerald Carr, a distinguished Church scholar, is the curator of the exhibition which marks the centenary of Church's death and celebrates the life and career of one of the most successful and respected artists of the 19th century.

An artist-explorer-entrepreneur, Frederic Edwin Church was famous for exhibiting his giant canvases together with telescopes to encourage viewers to appreciate the details of flora and fauna he'd observed abroad [his early work, influenced by his teacher Thomas Cole (1801-1848), centered on the Hudson River Valley]. Such monumental pictures as Morning in the Tropics (1877) from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and Syria by the Sea (1873) from the Detroit Institute of Arts, will be on view.

In addition to the monumental canvases, the exhibition covers a range of medium size and small, intimate pictures, which he created either as studies for the major works or as personal sketches. Most of the works were lent by museums and private collectors.

Known at first for his ravishing views of domestic scenery, particularly of the Hudson Valley region, Church was a visionary painter who explored far-off places from the Arctic North to the South American tropics to the exotic Near East. His magnificent home and studio overlooking the Hudson, which he called "Olana" -- referring to the Latin name of a "treasure - storehouse" in Persia near one of the presumed sites of the earthly Paradise - was recognized as one of the architectural wonders of its time and is a melange of the Oriental and Moorish styles that he so admired.


Pictured at left is The Iceberg (1875) by Frederic Edwin Church, one of America's most esteemed landscape painters, famous for his highly detailed canvases of such exotic locations as the Near East, the Arctic, and the South American tropics, replete with volcanoes and waterfalls. (left: Frederic Edwin Church, The Iceberg, c. 1875, oil on canvas, 22 x 27 inches, Terra Foundation for the Arts, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1993.6)


The New York opening of the exhibition in April at the Berry-Hill Galleries was a benefit for the Friends of Olana who support the preservation and enhancement of this cultural landmark where many of the artist's finest works can be seen. The gallery exhibition, which closed July 15, 2000 was a major success.

A fully-illustrated 220-page catalogue accompanying this exhibition features an essay on the theme of Church, exploration and the natural sciences by Church expert Dr. Carr, formerly a visiting art historian at Olana.

Read more about the Terra Museum of American Art in Resource Library Magazine.

Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 3/18/11

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