Tourism and the American Landscape @ The Cooper-Hewitt
Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826–1900). Schoodic Peninsula from Mount Desert at Sunrise, 1850–1855. Brush and oil paint on paperboard. Gift of Louis P. Church, 1917-4-332. Photo: Matt Flynn.
Frederic Church, Winslow Homer, and Thomas Moran:
Tourism and the American Landscape
May 19–October 22, 2006
National Design Museum
New York City
As nineteenth-century America rapidly evolved into an urban, industrialized society, the natural beauty of the country's vast untouched landscape became the chosen subject matter of many artists, including Frederic Edwin Church, Winslow Homer, and Thomas Moran. These painters recorded, romanticized, and sometimes embellished views of Niagara, Maine, the Catskills, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and other scenic locations, stimulating a burgeoning America to become a nation of tourists.
During the decades following the Civil War, recreational travel became accessible and affordable for the middle class as well as the wealthy. To serve a rapidly growing tourist clientele, hoteliers, real-estate builders, and railroad entrepreneurs developed, and eventually threatened, the same regions chosen by the artists for their pristine, untouched beauty. Frederic Church, Winslow Homer, and Thomas Moran: Tourism and the American Landscape chronicles the ways in which the works of some of America's most significant artists paralleled the evolving interest in and development of the American landscape while at the same time embedding icons of natural beauty in the nation’'s collective consciousness.