Roberta on the Arts
"From Colony to Nation: 200 Years of American Painting" at the New York Historical Society
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"From Colony to Nation: 200 Years of American Painting" at the New York Historical Society

- In the Galleries: Artists and Photographers


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From Colony to Nation:
200 Years of American Painting at the New York Historical Society
(Exhibit Web Page)

At the
New York Historical Society
www.nyhistory.org
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
212.873.3400

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
August 1, 2013


”New York Historical is recognized for engaging the public with deeply researched and far-ranging exhibitions, such as WWII & NYC; Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America; Slavery in New York; Drawn by New York: Six Centuries of Watercolors and Drawings at the New-York Historical Society; Grant and Lee in War and Peace; Lincoln and New York; Nueva York (1613 – 1945); and Revolution! The Atlantic World Reborn. Supporting these exhibitions and related education programs is one of the world's greatest collections of historical artifacts, works of American art, and other materials documenting the history of the United States and New York”.(Courtesy of NY Historical Society Website).

(Assisted by New York Historical Society Press Notes).
A large gallery and additional museum space is dedicated to the exhibit, From Colony to Nation: 200 Years of American Painting. Eighty works, painted from 1720 to 1918, bring the viewer right into early American portraiture, some depicting multiple family generations, as well as fiery, stormy, War of 1812 battles on the seas. Original frames, as well as many of the fragile paintings, have been carefully restored for this exceptional exhibition. Additionally, being seen for the first time at the New York Historical Society, is John Singer Sargent’s 1888 portrait entitled “Mrs. Jacob Wendell”. This is a newly donated work to this museum. Colonial New York and Philadelphia set the scene for many of the portraits and scenes. Some of the artists, whose works are on view, are Gilbert Stuart, Asher B. Durand, and Thomas Cole. I especially appreciated the Hudson River scenes, as well as the deep-toned woodland settings. Thomas Cole, of the Hudson River School, has always been one of my favorite artists, who depicted the beauty of early New York City and its upstate region, as well as bucolic scenes in other Northeastern states. I remember visiting Cole’s historical and expansive Catskill home and studio, called Cedar Grove.

A few of my favorites from this exhibition are pictured below. The Childe Hassam “Flags on 57th Street”, painted from the artist’s studio in 1918, on 57th Street near 6th Avenue, was obviously created after a winter snow storm, and the whiteness against the reds and blues of the flags is stunning. The 1887 Peter Alexander Healey portrait of Jeannette Ovington was so impressive, with such a lovely frame, that I actually found her archived wedding announcement in a New York Times online search. Ms. Ovington, who had lived in Paris, was married the year of the portrait to Mr. Nathan Appleton of Boston, a relative of the family of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The wedding was in Ms. Ovington’s original family home in Brooklyn, with 1,000 guests, serenaded at the reception by the Philharmonic Society. The Colony to Nation exhibit at the New York Historical Society runs through September 8, 2013.



Thomas Cole (1801-1848),
"Autumn Twilight",
View of Corway Peak [Mount Chocorua], New Hampshire, 1834.
Oil on wood panel. New-York Historical Society,
Gift of The New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts, 1858.42
Courtesy of New York Historical Society




Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827),
"The Peale Family", 1773-1809,
Oil on canvas. New-York Historical Society,
Gift of Thomas Jefferson Bryan, 1867.298 The World
Courtesy of New York Historical Society




Thomas Buttersworth (1758-1842),
"Escape of H.M.S. Belvidera from the U.S. Frigate President",
ca. 1815, Oil on canvas, New-York Historical Society,
Bequest of Irving S. Olds, 1963.58
Courtesy of New York Historical Society




George Peter Alexander Healy (1813-1894),
"Jeannette Ovington", 1887.
Oil on canvas. New-York Historical Society,
Gift of the Estate of Ina Love Thursby,
through Walter M. Brown, 1944.18
Courtesy of New York Historical Society




Childe Hassam (1859-1935),
"Flags on 57th Street", Winter of 1918,
1918. Oil on canvas. New-York Historical Society,
Bequest of Julia B. Engel, 1984.68
Courtesy of New York Historical Society



For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net