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The Reflections of Water in American Painting

Jan 27, 2011 – Apr 24, 2011
Featuring more than fifty paintings, the exhibition was an homage to America’s oceans, rivers, lakes, and harbors along with the ships that navigated them, the cities that depended on their steady flow, and the artists who found inspiration in the water’s dynamic colors and surfaces.

Spanning the period between 1828 to 1945, the exhibition opened with the earliest form of American maritime painting—the grand academic-style portraits of graceful sailing ships—and included waterscapes from the sea to the lakes and rivers of the American heartland, light-flooded impressionist visions of quaint New England seaside towns, and modernist renderings of industrial waterfronts and everyday life on the water.

The underlying theme of the exhibition reflected changes in American attitudes towards our most important resource—from the endless supply of water and land the first settlers found and the dominant role ships played in fostering growth and trade to the popularity of second homes and beaches and the change in port facilities from picturesque to industrial in the 20th century. It also subtly raised the question of what will happen to this resource in the 21st century.

Reflections on Water in American Painting was drawn from the collections of Arthur J. Phelan, well known for his paintings depicting life in the American West. Phelan began collecting nautical paintings in the 1960s. Highlights of his collection and the exhibition include James Bard’s meticulously drawn Hudson River steamboat, Frank Benson’s marshland with more than 30 rising ducks, William Trost Richards’ breaking waves, William Merritt Chase’s intense study of the Arno River, and Reginald Marsh’s cathedral-like rendering of a New Jersey railway bridge.

Featuring: William Trost Richards, Reginald Marsh, James Bard, Frank Benson, William Merritt Chase, Richard Fayerweather Babcock, Charles Bauerle, John S. Blunt, Alfred, Thompson Bricher, Milton Burns, Frederick A. Butman, Eliot Candee Clark, Waltar Clark, Jon Corbino, Charles Harold Davis, Julius M. Delbos, Preston Dickinson, Anton Otto Fischer, Will Howe Foote, Benjamin Foster, Edmund W. Greacen, George Harvey, Roswell Stone Hill, Wilson Irvine, Antonio Jacobsen, Julian Jospeh, Paul Lauritz, Elmer Livingston MacRae, Reginald Marsh, Charles M. McIlhenney, Arthur Meltzer, Willard Metcalf, Louis Remy Mignot, Bruce Handiside Mitchell, Edward Percy Moran, Oliver Hazard Perry III, Henry Ward Ranger, William Trost Richards, Theodore J. Richardson, Aiden Lassell Ripley, Paul Sawyier, John White Allen Scott, Edward Gregory Smith, John DeForest Stull, George Albert Thompson, Robert Vannoh, Juan Buckingham Wandesforde, Henry Warren, William R. Wheeler, Guy Chareton Wiggins.

For more information, please visit: Reflections of Water

Exhibition Images (38)

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