The general public now has a rare opportunity to see three works by artists directly or closely associated with the Hudson River School, thanks to a loan arrangement between Vassar College’s Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center and the Century Association of New York City. Among the artists is German-born Emanuel Leutze, best known for his iconic painting Washington Crossing the Delaware, along with Hudson River School stalwarts Asher Brown Durand and John Frederick Kensett. [NOTE: As of December 20, 2013, the Leutze painting is available for viewing by appointment only. Call Joann Potter, registrar (845) 437-5239, to make arrangements.]
On exhibit at the Art Center through May 2014, the three paintings are otherwise only viewable at the Century Association, a private Manhattan club founded almost two centuries ago by famed poet William Cullen Bryant and friends who included artists from the Hudson River School. The Century Association asked Vassar to be a safe harbor for the paintings during construction of a new building adjacent to the club’s headquarters.
The three loaned works are all oils on canvas, including two very large pieces – Kaaterskill Clove (38 ¼ by 60 inches) by Durand and The Hohenstaufen, (53 5/8 by 42 7/8 inches) by Leutze. The third painting is Kensett’s The Hemlock (14 by 9 inches). Notably, all three painters were members of the Century Association.
The Durand and Kensett paintings reflect the romantic aesthetic vision of the Hudson River School as well as the kind of Hudson Valley locales favored by their movement. Each work is on display in the Art Center’s American Gallery.
Leutze divided his time between Germany and the United States and was associated with the Düsseldorf School of painting, which grew out of the German Romantic movement and eventually had a strong influence on the Hudson River School. His loaned work The Hohenstaufen is set in the Swabian Alps and can be seen in the museum’s European Gallery.
“We are delighted that these important works of art will be on view at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center for the next year and possibly longer,” said James Mundy, the Anne Hendricks Bass Director of the museum. “Given Vassar’s location in the Hudson Valley and the role played by members of the Hudson River School in the founding of the Century Association, we believe that the Vassar campus is a particularly appropriate venue for the public to see these historically significant paintings. We are most grateful to the Century Association for entrusting these works to us.”
About the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center
The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center was founded in 1864 as the Vassar College Art Gallery. The current 36,400-square-foot facility, designed by Cesar Pelli and named in honor of the new building's primary donor, opened in 1993. The Art Center's collections chart the history of art from antiquity to the present and comprise over 18,000 works, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, and glass and ceramic wares. Notable holdings include the Warburg Collection of Old Master prints, an important group of Hudson River School paintings given by Matthew Vassar at the college's inception, and a wide range of works by major European and American 20th- century painters. Vassar was the first U.S. college founded with a permanent art collection and gallery, and at any given time, the Permanent Collection Galleries of the Art Center feature approximately 350 works from Vassar's extensive collections.
Admission to the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center is free and open to the public. All galleries are wheelchair accessible. The Art Center is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 10:00am–5:00pm; Thursday, 10:00am–9:00pm; and Sunday, 1:00–5:00pm. Located at the entrance to the historic Vassar College campus, the Art Center can be reached within minutes from other Mid-Hudson cultural attractions, such as Dia:Beacon, the Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt national historic sites and homes, and the Vanderbilt mansion. For additional information, the public may call (845) 437-5632 or visit http://fllac.vassar.edu
Directions to the Vassar campus, located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie, are available at www.vassar.edu/directions.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.