American Stories: 1800-1950

February 4, 2016


A Winter View from Newburgh

A Winter View from Newburgh, 1856 oil on panel  by Louis Remy Mignot

I Visited “American Stories: 1800-1950”, Vassar’s latest exhibit featuring American art (thru Apr 17, 2016). Gleaned from The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center’s vast collection of over 20,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, artifacts, etc., Curator James Mundy, Director of the Anne Hendricks Bass Art Center, has chosen 59 works that he has divided into 3 Sections: People, Places, and Moments. There are some surprises — works by famous artists that have seldom (or never) been seen as well as some by little-known artists that ought to have had more exposure to the public — for example, Louis Remy Mignot whose “A Winter View from Newburgh, 1856” would have graced any of the “Hudson River School” exhibitions that I’ve seen. Other works in the exhibition that caught my eye were Samuel Colman’s “Blooming-Grass Time, 1856”, William Hart’s “Landscape With Cattle”, 1873, and especially the almost overwhelming “The Valley of the Shadow of Death, 1867” by George Inness. Its sheer size alone would stop any visitor in his/her tracks, but Inness’s power of suggestion in almost indecipherable color and form surely reveals the art of a master. This is one of the most powerfully moving paintings done by Inness that I’ve seen. Viewers will find some surprising work done by well-know names as well as many that were not as eye-catching. However, if you love landscapes, a side-trip to a gallery across the hall that features some very fine “Hudson River” painters from the Vassar Collection might be well worth your while. In addition to the “American Stories” exhibition, there are several related events upcoming that might entice you to take a trip upstate. (The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, 124 Raymond Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY 12604-0703 (845) 437-5632.