Frederic Edwin Church - Sunrise

Frederic Edwin Church
October - December 1862
© New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation /
Olana State Historic Site, Hudson, NY

Frederic Church and the Landscape Oil Sketch

The exhibition 'Through American Eyes: Frederic Church and the Landscape Oil Sketch' explores the remarkably fresh and spontaneous oil sketches of Frederic Edwin Church (1826–1900). National Gallery, London, 6 February - 28 April, 2013.

Source: National Gallery, London

Church’s oil sketches reveal the freshness of his work and the spontaneity of his style as he captured scenes out of doors, some of which he elaborated later in the studio. Regarded as one of the most ambitious of the Hudson River School landscape painters, his works reveal his voracious appetite for travel to locations as distant as Ecuador, 'Distant View of the Sangay Volcano, Ecuador' (1857); Jordan, 'Ed Deir, Petra' (1868); Jamaica, 'Ridges in the Blue Mountains, Jamaica' (1865); Germany, 'Königssee, Bavaria' (1868); and the waters off Labrador where he studied icebergs.

The exhibition also includes works executed closer to Church’s home on the Hudson in Upstate New York including 'Winter Twilight from Olana' (about 1871-2) and 'Hudson, New York at Sunset' (1867) which reflect his interest in the American landscape and his exploration of the effect of light.

This exhibition, the first opportunity to examine Church’s oil sketch achievement in depth on this side of the Atlantic, is organised with and through major support from the Terra Foundation for American Art. The show unites some 30 oil sketches and includes loans from Olana, Church’s rural estate along the Hudson River and now a New York State Historic Site, and the collections of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, New York. Church’s completed oil painting 'Niagara Falls, from the American Side' (1867), an impressive canvas of over two metres square on loan from the National Galleries of Scotland, is included in the exhibition to illustrate the journey from sketch to completed oil painting. The exhibition will actually travel in summer 2013 to the Scottish National Gallery.

The exhibition follows the 2011 exhibition, "An American Experiment: George Bellows and the Ashcan Painters". It complements the impressive Gere Collection of landscape oil sketches on long-term loan to the Gallery and oil sketches in the Gallery’s own collection.

Related content

Frederic Edwin Church’s Maine landscapes at Portland Museum of Art (exhibition, 2012)

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