Autumn in North America 1856
Frederick Church (American, 1826-1900) Oil on board
In title and effect, this composite scene invokes a generalized notion of national landscape. Devoting little attention to naturalistic detail, Church used remarkably free brushwork to infuse the water and sky of the autumnal setting with a crisp, invigorating sense of atmosphere and light. Soon after producing this preparatory oil sketch (for a painting of the same name at his nearby home, Olana), the artist enjoyed his first great public success with the panoramic 1857 painting Niagara.
Shadow Decoration, 1887
Charles Courtney Curran (American, 1861-1942) Oil on canvas
Acquired by the College’s Art Gallery at the autumn exhibition of the National Academy of Design in 1887, this painting elevates rustic subject matter through abstract design principles, in a manner characteristic of the American Aesthetic Movement. Sunlight heightens the modeling of Curran’s idealized washerwoman, while shadows make an elegant Japanese screen out of the laundry she hangs out to dry.