Landscape painting with mountain peak at center and rolling mountains to either side; valley in foreground with houses hidden among trees in deep shadow and along hillside; blue sky above with wispy clouds.
During the nineteenth century, the White Mountains in New Hampshire attracted the attention of European as well as American painters. This is one of three known views of Mount Washington from Sunset Hill by Luthy, who, like many American painters during the mid-19th century, viewed nature as divine. In "White Mountains" he utilizes the traditional tenets of the picturesque landscape, but infuses his work with emblems of an optimistic and expanding nation through his incorporation of the small village of North Conway in the foreground.
March 28, 2009
Reaching the White Mountains once required a long and arduous journey, but by 1851 it was possible to take a train with relative ease to within eight miles of Mt. Washington. North Conway became an especially popular tourist destination, and by the 1850s it was home to arguably the first artist’s colony in the United States. Luthy is one of the many artists who flocked to the region and painted more than 400 views of the White Mountains in the second half of the 19th century. The view of Mt. Washington from Sunset Hill in North Conway—the one first made famous by John Kensett—was a particularly popular vantage point from which to observe and paint this icon of American scenery. The demand for paintings of Mount Washington came both from tourists, who provided a ready market for souvenir paintings, and from those who had never visited but were nevertheless familiar with the site from paintings or literature. Though Luthy’s view, like Hodgdon’s, centrally features Mt. Washington, there are differences in details—houses are nestled in the valley, there is no snow on the mountain, and the summer sky is clear—and it seems like an altogether less forbidding place.
Landscape with trees in foreground, valley in middle ground dotted with minute figures of sheep and a farmer with a team of oxen pulling well-filled haywain. Mountains in distance with a snow-capped mountain in center background.
“White Mountains” was a popular subject amongst 19th century Americans, who, stirred by the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, wanted patriotic emblems of an optimistic and expanding nation. Using the popular tenets of the sublime and the picturesque, Hodgdon juxtaposes an awe-inspiring snow-capped mountain in the distance with a lush valley just beginning to show evidence of a fading summer.
March 28, 2009
During the nineteenth century, the White Mountains of New Hampshire stirred the imagination of many Americans. The region became famous after the Willey Family tragedy in 1826, in which nine people lost their lives in an avalanche caused by mudslides; their home was left standing when they hastily fled, and an open bible was found inside on a table. This poignant event became a subject in literature, art, and scientific journals, reinforcing contemporary notions of the country’s dramatic and untamed mountain wildernesses. The White Mountains subsequently grew to be a major tourist attraction and a magnet for artists. Mt. Washington, a 6,228-foot peak named after the first president of the United States, was one of the highlights of the region. It was one of the most recognizable places in America after John Kensett exhibited a painting of it in 1851 that was reproduced as a lithograph and distributed to more than 13,000 people. In Hodgdon’s view of this iconic site, the forbidding mountain looms over the domesticated valley below, populated only by a small haywain and some sheep. He often set up dramatic contrasts between dark and light in his paintings, as here, and this autumn scene allowed him also to capture the transition from summer to winter.
Bust-length portrait of a woman with grey hair in a cream colored dress seated in a red chair with a view of the landscape to right of figure seen through an illusionistic stone oval window or oculus.
Based on a portrait of Martha Washington by his father, Charles Willson Peale, in 1795, this is one of several posthumous portraits of Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (June 2, 1731-May 22, 1802) painted by Rembrandt Peale in the 1850s. The stone oculus surrounding the sitter mirrors Peale’s “porthole portraits” of George Washington, which he framed in stone to underscore the subject’s monumentality and to serve as an allusion to the Roman Republic, whose ideals were continually invoked by the Founding Fathers.
March 28 2009
In the early years of the American Republic, from the 1790s to the mid-nineteenth century, an almost cultlike fascination with George Washington fueled numerous portraits of the first president and his wife, Martha. Rembrandt Peale based this painting on a portrait of Martha Washington painted by his father—renowned Colonial American artist Charles Wilson Peale—in 1795.
The trompe l’oeil stonework oval frame surrounding the sitter finds its source in ancient Roman funerary sculpture in which a portrait of the deceased is enframed in a stone oculus. Its inclusion here is fitting for a posthumous portrait, and it also mirrors Peale’s popular “porthole portraits” of George Washington, in which he framed the president in stone to underscore the subject’s heroic stature and allude to the ancient Roman Republic, whose ideals were regularly invoked by the U.S. Founding Fathers.
Peale’s portrait depicts the former First Lady as a suitable spouse to Washington. Peale seems not to have been striving to capture his subject’s physical likeness—after all, the portrait was painted many years after her death—but rather the idealized character of America’s “Founding Mother,” emphasizing her stoic nature and strength of character.
Inscribed l.l.: Rembrandt Peale
Inscribed verso l.c.: Martha Washington / painted by / Rembrandt Peale - 1858 /from an Original by C.W. Peale - 1795.
The painting depicts a group of American settlers attempting to defend themselves against attack by a band of Native Americans. A covered wagon pulled by two horses is at the center of the composition; at left, two Native Americans attack the wagon with war clubs and tomahawks; a figure on the lead horse points a pistol directly at the head of one of his attackers, while a figure at the rear of the wagon shoots another attacker. At right other warriors on horseback ride past the train shooting arrows and wielding tomahawks.
“The Attack on an Emigrant Train” was inspired by the writing of Gabriel Ferry, a contemporary French chronicler of the Gold Rush, and depicts a caravan of American pioneer gold-diggers crossing a prairie, defending themselves against attack by a band of Native Americans. Wimar portrays the Native American as a foe who symbolized hostility and was an obstruction in the path of American progress and territorial expansion.
March 28, 2009
In this painting a wagon train of American pioneers crossing the prairie is attacked by a group of Native Americans armed with tomahawks and bows and arrows; as the men in the first wagon take up arms to defend themselves, their comrades rush forward to join the fight. The Attack on an Emigrant Train was painted during the height of westward expansion in the United States (1840s–1860s) and is very much a product of its time. Its dramatic staging of two cultures clashing reinforced the doctrine of Manifest Destiny—the belief that European Americans had a right and even a Christian duty to expand throughout the North American continent. According to this theory, Indians were literally an obstruction in the path of American progress. Here they are portrayed as ferocious aggressors arresting the forward movement of the peaceful immigrants. The white man’s steady aim of his gun—taken up to protect women and children who take shelter in the wagons—is contrasted with the chaotic mass of half-clothed warriors armed with simple weapons. Images such as this reinforced the prevailing notion of the Native American as primitive, even savage, and perpetuated the idea they were another element of the untamed landscape that needed to be subdued and civilized. Wimar’s painting became enormously influential, inspiring and establishing a stereotype of attacks on wagon trains that persisted well into the twentieth century.
Depicts a group of Arab warriors on horseback in full gallop charging away from the viewer through the desert landscape.
Renowned for his dynamic compositions of horses and nomadic Arab warriors in desert landscapes, Schreyer’s rapid sketch-like brushstrokes emphasize the forward momentum of the riders. Schreyer traveled to Syria, Egypt and North Africa in the early 1860s where he thoroughly immersed himself in the Arab culture, and the people and arid landscapes of these regions proved to be a rich source of imagery for his subsequent work.
Schreyer was renowned for his dynamic and atmospheric paintings of horses and battles. He began his studies as a military and landscape painter at the Städel Institute in Frankfurt. Further studies took him to Stuttgart, Munich and Düsseldorf. During the early 1860s, Schreyer traveled through North Africa, Egypt and Syria, where he found many motifs for his later painting.
In 1862 Schreyer moved to Paris, where he established himself. At the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, Schreyer returned to Germany, where he continued to work until his death.
Constant received his training at the Academy of Toulouse and studied in Paris under Cabanel. During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 Constant traveled in Spain and North Africa, collecting objects that he later included in his paintings. His work is in the style of Romantic Orientalism which enjoyed great popularity during much of the second half of the nineteenth century.
This painting shows a scene set in a courtyard with high white walls that is open to the sky. Beyond the wall there is flowering vegetation, tall trees and a tower with a balustrade with keyhole shaped openings. There are two clay pots resting on top of the wall and an oriental style carpet hanging over one side. Within this courtyard, there are three women who are looking at two small leopards that wear metal chains and stand in a keyhole shaped opening of the far right wall. The women, grouped together on the far left side, are wearing 19th century Moroccan dress, including richly embroidered, garments, headscarves and shoes. There is bright sunlight streaming into the room which creates shadows on the walls and floor.
Constant began to do paintings with Orientalist subjects following his travels in Spain and Morocco during the 1870s. Prior to that he was well known at the Paris Salon for exhibiting history scenes. The exact meaning of this subject is unknown, however, Constant had done other paintings of street scenes and harem women, including, Harem Women in Morocco, which received a third-class medal at the Salon in 1875. This painting shows his romantic treatment of these subjects and the inclusion of local artifacts, rugs and costumes from his studio collection.
This painting shows a scene set in a room with high white walls that is open to the sky, like a courtyard. Beyond the wall there is flowering vegetation, tall trees and a tower with a balustrade with keyhole shaped openings. There are two clay pots resting on top of the wall and an oriental style carpet hanging over one side. Within this courtyard, there are three women who are looking at two small leopards that wear metal chains and stand in a keyhole shaped opening of the far right wall. The women, grouped together on the far left side, are wearing 19th century Moroccan dress, including richly embroidered, garments, headscarves and shoes. There is bright sunlight streaming into the room which creates shadows on the walls and floor.