February 26, 2016–May 8, 2016
Nature and the American Vision is a landmark exhibition featuring nearly fifty masterpieces from the New-York Historical Society’s acclaimed collection of landscape paintings, the most revered in the country. In addition to the beauty and historic value of the paintings, the exhibition charts the emergence of the Hudson River School, considered the nation’s first original artistic movement, and includes iconic works by luminaries alongside rarely seen masterpieces. Rising to eminence during the mid-nineteenth century, this loosely knit group of painters, poets, and writers forged a self-consciously American artistic voice, one grounded in the exploration of the natural world as a resource for spiritual renewal and as an expression of cultural and national identity.
The powerful ideas these paintings conveyed about nature, culture, and history converge in a presentation of Thomas Cole’s epic landscape narratives, The Course of Empire—which will receive their Milwaukee debut after a six-month presentation at the Louvre in Paris.
This exhibition has been organized by the New-York Historical Society. It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Additional support provided by the Milwaukee Art Museum's Friends of Art. Program sponsorship provided by the Milwaukee Art Museum's American Arts Society.