Thomas Cole: The Cross in the Wilderness

Thomas Cole
The Cross in the Wilderness
Paris, musée du Louvre © 2008 RMN / Jean-Gilles Berizzi

New Frontier: American Art Enters the Louvre

The musée du Louvre, the High Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the Terra Foundation for American Art have announced the launch of a four-year collaboration devoted to American art. The first installation will explore the rise of American landscape painting through the works of Thomas Cole and Asher B. Durand.

January 14 - April 16, 2012

Source: / The musée du Louvre

The first presentation of the “New Frontier” partnership is centered on Thomas Cole (1801 -1848) and the rise of American landscape painting. The Louvre acquired in 1975 The Cross in the Wilderness, which represents the culmination of the artist’s reflection, initiated in 1825, on the representation of a certain type of American landscape, both untouched and grandiose.

Inspired by the sentiments expressed in contemporary American literature, by writers such as James Fenimore Cooper and William Cullen Bryant, the works of Cole and those of his compatriot Asher B. Durand, initiated a particularly new and fertile genre in the young school of American painting.

Five works drawn from the collections of the partner institutions have been selected for the inaugural presentation. In addition to the painting from the Louvre, these include The Tempest (High Museum of Art), one of the first landscapes by the artist; Landscape with Figures: A Scene from “The Last of the Mohicans”, painted by Cole in 1826 and considered one of the artist’s first masterpieces (Terra Foundation for American Art); and Cole’s last painting, The Good Shepherd, 1848 (Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art). A painting by Asher B. Durand (High Museum of Art) rounds out the presentation and demonstrates the profound influence of Cole on his contemporaries.

Following its premiere at the Louvre, the exhibition will travel to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR (May 12 – August 13, 2012) and to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA (September 22, 2012 – January 6, 2013).

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