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Frederic Edwin Church BiographyAmerican Hudson River School painter
born 1826 - died 1900
Also known as: Frederick Edwin Church.
For his spectacular and panoramic paintings of the wilderness of North and South America, Frederic Edwin Church was a dominant figure in the second generation of the Hudson River School. his canvases celebrated the drama of the American frontier and expressed the expansionist and optimistic outlook of the United States in the mid-nineteenth century.
|Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Church was the son of a wealthy businessman. Frederic Edwin Church received his early art training from local artists Benjamin Hutchins Coe and Alexander Hamilton Emmons. In 1844, with the help of the art patron Daniel Wadsworth, Frederic Edwin Church became the first pupil of the famous Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole. While studying at Cole’s studio in Catskill, New York, Church absorbed his teacher’s methods of sketching and became a proponent of his epic style of painting. Upon completing two years of training, Church moved to New York, where he established a studio in the Art-Union building.|
Church was successful in New York. In 1848,
Frederic Edwin Church became one of the youngest artists to be
elected to the status of academician at the
National Academy of Design, and Frederic
Edwin Church was soon
training pupils of his
own, including Jervis McEntee and William
James Stillman. In the subsequent period,
Church emulated Cole’s art, painting
large-scale landscapes of the Hudson River
Valley and of New England. Influenced by the
writings of English theorist John Ruskin,
Frederic Edwin Church began to paint in a more precise manner,
focusing on specific effects of weather and
atmosphere. He was also inspired by the
Alexander von Humboldt, a German naturalist-explorer.
When Frederic Edwin Church paintings received high praise, Church set off on a second expedition in 1857. On this sojourn, Frederic Edwin Church traveled to Ecuador with the landscape painter Louis Rémy Mignot. It was on this trip that he was able to concentrate on the scenery of the Andes, and Frederic Edwin Church filled diaries and sketchbooks with records of the vegetation and the countryside. Characterized by vast vistas and atmospheric detail, the paintings that resulted from this sojourn demonstrate his unique approach. Among the great triumphs of the artist’s career was Heart of the Andes (1859; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), in which he captured the essence of the tropics. Another significant product of this period in the artist’s career was Niagara (1857; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), which established Church as the leading interpreter of the American spirit.
During the 1860s, Church continued to travel, seeking subject matter for Frederic Edwin Church paintings. He continued to produce visions of the tropics such as Twilight in the Wilderness (1860; Cleveland Museum of Art) and Cotopaxi (1862; The Detroit Institute of Art) until 1867, when Frederic Edwin Church took a year and a half trip to Europe and the Middle East. He first spent six months in London and Paris, and then continued on to Alexandria, Beirut, Constantinople, Baalbeck, Petra, and Jerusalem. Due to his fascination with ancient civilizations, Frederic Edwin Church also visited Naples, Paestum, and Greece. On his return, he stopped in London, in order to study the works of Turner. The results of this trip were numerous oil sketches and drawings that Frederic Edwin Church used for a series of paintings including The Parthenon (1871; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) and Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives (1870; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri).
|Frederic Edwin Church paintings may be found in fine private and public collections throughout the United States including the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth; the Art Institute of Chicago; ... and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut.|
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