Frederic Edwin Church
Twilight, A Sketch, 1858
oil on canvas, 8 1/4 x 12 1/4 inches
Collection of Olana, NYSOPRHP
June 30 through September 30, 2012.
Source: Portland Museum of Art
Nineteenth-century landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church first traveled to Maine in 1850 inspired by the portfolio of drawings his teacher Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School, and by Andreas Achenbach’s dramatic sea painting "Clearing Up–Coast of Sicily" exhibited in 1849 in New York City. The artist spent six weeks on Mount Desert exploring the coast, its rocky islands, and peaceful harbors. He sketched the scenery which he described as “magnificent both land and seaward.” In 1852 he trekked inland focusing on the area of Mount Katahdin. During the next decades, Church continued to visit Maine capturing sensational sunsets, robust crashing waves, impressive peaks, and an abundance of wilderness.
The exhibition includes 25 of Church’s small oil and pencil sketches, highlighting Maine’s two most majestic natural landmarks and many are on public view for the first time.
Throughout his life, Church continued to visit Maine, sketching, fishing, and hiking. The Katahdin region so intrigued Church that in 1878 he bought land on the lake, the only other property he ever owned besides Olana. The Maine material in the Olana collection ranges from finished oil sketches that Church selected to mount, frame, and display at Olana to pencil sketches and cartoons that he stored in personal portfolios.
'Maine Sublime: Frederic Edwin Church’s Landscapes of Mount Desert and Mount Katahdin' is organized by the Olana Partnership, Hudson, NY, and New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Albany, NY, and curated by John Wilmerding, Sarofim Professor Emeritus of American Art and Chair of the Department of Art and Archeology at Princeton University. Wilmerding is currently chairman of the board of the National Gallery and a trustee of the Guggenheim Museum, the new Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the Wyeth Foundation for American Art.