Frederic Edwin Church, “Syria by the Sea,” 1873, oil on canvas, Detroit Institute of Arts

The Reynolda House Museum of American Art recently announced its plans to mount a significant 2018 exhibition surrounding the travels of iconic painter Frederic Church.

On view February 8 through May 13, 2018, “A Painter’s Pilgrimage” is sure to be a fabulous opportunity for any lover of fine art and, specifically, exquisite 19th-century landscape painting. Mounted by the Reynolda House Museum of American Art, the exhibition seeks to illuminate important paintings by Frederic Edwin Church (1828-1900) that were inspired by his travels to ancient sites in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. More than 50 paintings, oil studies, and drawings from the late 1860s through the early 1880s will compose the show.

Frederic Edwin Church, “The Parthenon,” 1871, oil on canvas, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
Frederic Edwin Church, “Temple of Jupiter at Sunrise, Baalbek, May 7, 1868,” graphite and chalk on paperboard, Smithsonian Design Museum

Via the museum, “The most popular artist in mid-19th-century America, Frederic Edwin Church (1826–1900) took landscape painting to new heights of grandeur and was best known for his large, visually stunning paintings of American scenes as well as views of South America, the North Atlantic, and the Caribbean. But from 1867 until the end of his life, many of Church’s most important paintings represented ancient cities or buildings that he saw during his 1867–69 trip to the Middle East, Rome, and Athens. While Church’s paintings of the New World focused on the natural world, his works from the Old World explored human history. The exhibition brings together nearly all of Church’s most important paintings of the Mediterranean region and Holy Land in order to explore this major shift in his artistic practice.”

Frederic Edwin Church, “Al Ayn (The Fountain),” 1882, oil on canvas, Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, MA
Frederic Edwin Church, “Broken Columns, View from the Parthenon, Athens, April 1869,” oil and graphite on paperboard, Smithsonian Design Museum

Allison Perkins, director of the Reynolda House Museum, added, “[The exhibition] provides a remarkable opportunity to see the work of one of the most honored Hudson River School artists whose painting ’The Andes of Ecuador’ is one of the most important works in the Reynolda House collection. All of the work in the exhibition was created after Church observed firsthand some of antiquity’s most extraordinary cities, buildings, temples, and ruins. The exhibition juxtaposes pencil drawings and oil studies that Church completed during his trip with paintings he completed back in his studio.”

To learn more, visit the Reynolda House Museum of American Art.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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