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Window on the West: Views from the American Frontier: The Phelan Collection


During the 19th-century, artists were drawn to the country's new frontier. They were fascinated by the people who were pioneering settlement of the lands west of the Mississippi and by the grandeur of Western vistas, so unlike the crowded, increasing urban East. Artists such as Carl Wimar, Alfred Jacob Miller, Karl Bodmer and Josepf Bakos were prominent among those who personally explored the West and realistically documented what they saw. Many also captured the fast disappearing way of life of Native Americans and the earliest pioneers of the West. Window on the West: Views from the American Frontier: The Phelan Collection opens at Nassau County Museum of Art (NCMA) on February 17, 2002 and runs through April 28, 2002. The core of the exhibition is 60 works from the distinguished collection of Arthur J. Phelan of Chevy Chase, MD., a collection that focuses on factual rather than romanticized depictions of the West.

In addition to the works of the Phelan collection, an adjoining gallery will be filled with additional American Western art that will serve to complement the work of the Phelan collection. This section of the exhibition is curated for NCMA by Constance Schwartz and Franklin Hill Perrell and will feature paintings, sculpture and other works on loan from important public and private sources across the nation including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Lowe Art Museum in Miami and the Masco Corporation's collection of American Western art. (left: Samuel Colman, Indian Rider, Wyoming, 1888, oil on cottonwood panel, Phelan Collection)

Among the Phelan collection works on view in Window on the West are John Audubon's American Bison or Buffalo, 1843-45; Alfred Jacob Miller's The Lost Greenhorn, ca. 1845; Karl Bodmer's Fort Union on the Missouri, 1833 and James Stuart's Eastern Oregon Cattle Ranch, 1881. Also included in the Phelan collection exhibition are works by lesser-known and women artists, Native Americans and African Americans among them. Of particular interest is Scouts on Watch, 1921 by Lone Wolf who is generally regarded as the first academically-trained Native American artist.

Included in the section curated by NCMA are an important group of bronze sculptures by Frederic Remington and paintings by such artists as Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Hill, among others.

In conjunction with Window on the West, NCMA will be sponsoring several public programs that will serve to amplify and enhance the experience of viewing the works of the exhibition; among the programs is a two-part lecture series by the exhibition's co-curator, Franklin Hill Perrell. Call (516) 484-9337 for information.


Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the Nassau County Museum of Art in Resource Library Magazine.

Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.

This page was originally published in 2002 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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