Glories of the Hudson
Frederic Edwin Church's Views from Olana
Foreword by John K. Howat
"The site is the result of a careful study of the river-banks, and commands so many views of varied beauty, that all the glories of the Hudson may be said to circle it."—H. W. French, Art and Artists in Connecticut, 1879
In 1609, Henry Hudson sailed up the river that now bears his name. The exhibition and its accompanying publication Glories of the Hudson: Frederic Edwin Church's Views from Olana mark the quadricentennial of his discovery by highlighting Frederic Church's sketches of the prospect from his hilltop home overlooking the river. Church made his first sketch of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains from Red Hill—the south end of the property that became his home, Olana—in 1845, on a sketching expedition suggested by his teacher Thomas Cole. Returning to the Hudson Valley in 1860 as the nation's most famous and best-paid artist, Church settled on a farm on the lower slope of the Sienghenbergh, securing for himself and his new wife a splendid vantage point for studying, sketching, and painting the river.
Church continued to add land to his property, attaining new and varied vistas of the river, and crowned the estate with a Persian-inspired house designed to frame splendid views of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains. Church never tired of his views of the river, documenting his passion for the Hudson in paintings, oil sketches, and drawings. From Olana, he observed the transformations wrought by the changing seasons, weather, and light, capturing chilly winter snows, brilliant sunsets, and passing storms in sketches executed with a few brushstrokes or autumn colors and clear winter light in more finished easel paintings. The best of these are reproduced here, in eighty-three illustrations, sixty-nine in full color, some of them published for the first time. The essay by Evelyn D. Trebilcock and Valerie A. Balint, the introduction by Kenneth John Myers, and the foreword by John K. Howat together provide an absorbing narrative of the development of the Hudson River School and its most successful artist.
The Olana Partnership, Hudson, New York, and New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Albany, New York, organized Glories of the Hudson: Frederic Edwin Church's Views from Olana, held from May 23 to October 12, 2009