Hudson River School Paintings: A VITAL YET UNDERVALUED ART

Published on December 1st, 2018 | Posted in Events and Exhibitions, Featured, Hudson River School

Whenever liberty and equality, the defining principles of our nation, are challenged, Americans find that the work of the Hudson River School rekindles their resolve and optimism. The sense of awe we experience as we view the sublime and the beautiful rouses a dormant patriotism. At a moment when we are experiencing a widening ideological divide, we need this genuine American art that encourages an affection for the homeland, a sentiment critical to the well-being of a union that Lincoln described as “the last best hope of earth.”

Jasper Francis Cropsey-Palisades Opposite Hastings-on-Hudson, 1887
Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823–1900), Palisades Opposite Hastings-on-Hudson, 1887, oil on canvas, 14 x 12¼ inches, signed and dated lower right: J. F. Cropsey / 1887

The Hudson River School painters created an art that is uniquely American. Major museums have exhibited their work in three consecutive centuries. They were patriots, extolling the virtues of a new world; conservationists, warning of the impending desecration of a magnificent wilderness; and faithful, showing reverence for the creator of the wonders they discovered. Their work may seem contradictory to a contemporary culture that is ravenous for the conceptual and abstract, but for all who respect the contemplative creativity to be harnessed from woodland strolls and fiery sunsets, this art perpetually renews a human spirit that cannot thrive without cultivating a relationship with nature. Yet an art this vital is presently overlooked as society assigns the highest monetary value to work that is most in vogue, valuing the timely far greater than the timeless. But this is good news for those who recognize the true worth of work by America’s master landscape painters of the nineteenth century.

I ask you to consider all the material objects in your possession and measure them against any significant Hudson River School painting. As the earliest and most significant cultural contribution by American artists, this work is enduring. When most of what we acquire in our lifetime is obsolete or irrelevant, your children and grandchildren will appreciate your decision to acquire examples by these great America painters.

Announcing our upcoming exhibition:
A Call to the Wild: Important Hudson River School Paintings
An Exhibition and Sale
March 8–30, 2019