The painters who came to be known as the Hudson River School--Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Frederic Edwin Church, Jasper Cropsey, Sanford Robinson Gifford, and others--found inspiration in our young country's natural wonders and were the first to paint many of its still-wild vistas. As America was settled and the wilderness receded, their successors--most notably Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran--carried their quest for the sublime to the Far West, communicating its breathtaking grandeur in brilliant views of Rocky Mountain peaks, roaring waterfalls, and vast canyons. Within a single generation these artists established the dramatic approach to American landscape painting that is celebrated in this stirringly beautiful book. The freshness of their vision, the intensity of their invention, and the energy of their execution were all born of the urgency these artists sensed in the life of America itself.
Published to accompany a major transatlantic exhibition, American Sublime rejoices in America the Beautiful as seen in some of the country's most glorious landscape paintings. It contains a fully illustrated catalogue of all the paintings in the exhibition, with more than one hundred color plates, including three gatefolds. Biographies of the artists are included, and thoughtful and elegantly written essays cast new light on their ambitions and achievements. The lucid text places American landscape painting in the context of the international art world and of the European landscape tradition. And it explores ideas of national identity and empire in America, looking in particular at how these landscapes, whether real or imagined, reflect Americans' hopes and fears for their country.
As a tribute to some of our most important American artists and the land that inspired them, this stunningly illustrated book will have a deep and wide appeal.