Gillette painting of boats in harbor
Category : MulvaneExhibits, MulvaneHome

Location: Main Level, South Gallery

This exhibition presents seven oil paintings from the Mulvane Art Museum’s permanent collection that exemplify American landscape painting at the turn of the twentieth century. These works are characterized by their poetic renderings of nature. Collectively, they demonstrate the influence and enduring legacy of three major American art movements: the Hudson River School (1825 – 1870), Tonalism (1880 – 1920), and American Impressionism (1880 - 1940). Artworks associated with these schools often possess an enhanced play of light, inherent spirituality, mood, and literary evocation. Painters of the earlier Hudson River School typically rendered landmarks in a naturalistic style. Their pictures’ sublime quality of light lent inspiration to the later Tonalist painters, whose distinct, low-toned landscapes captured “the felt life of nature.” Alternatively, American Impressionism was concerned with capturing fleeting moments, emphasizing instantaneity and movement. 

Nineteenth and early twentieth-century American landscape painting contributed significantly to a widespread appreciation of this country’s natural resources and unique topographic features. The influence of European art is evident. Still, it is important to note that American artists, while interested in art movements abroad – Romanticism, Realism, and French Impressionism – adopted and adapted these styles within a unique articulation of place. Indeed, all of the paintings in this exhibition are a product of a particular region – the Hudson River Valley, the harbors of Gloucester, the woods of upstate New York, the dunes of Indiana, and the rolling hills of Buck’s County, Pennsylvania.


Image:  Lester A. Gillette, The Return at Sunset, eary twentieth century, oil on canvas.

Frank Virgil Dudley

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