Charmed Places: Hudson River Artists and Their Houses, Studios, and Vistas

Sandra S. Phillips, Editor, Linda Weintraub, Editor, Len Jenshel, Photographer ABRAMS $39.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-8109-1041-6
This book catalogues a traveling exhibition of paintings, photographs and drawings which focus on the homes, studios and environs of Hudson River Valley artists. Four essays on the development of the valley and over 50 pages of reproductions present such artists as Thomas Cole and Frederic Church as importers and proponents of a picturesque style of architecture and landscape design and as contributors to the evolution of a regional attitude toward nature. The text emphasizes that the view of nature as ``nourishing, supportive and restorative'' espoused by these 19th century artists both influenced and reflected the development of enterprises like the Erie Canal, the Croton Water System, the Hudson River Railroad and Manhattan's Central Park. The reproductions provide a close-up look at how these artists chose to shape their own private environments. As a catalogue, the book offers an interesting perspective from which to tour the exhibition; as an independent resource, however, it fails to fully exploit the richness of its topics. While the basic premise of the book is both relevant and intriguing, the history presented is too fragmentary and the discussion of architecture too superficial to provide the ``complete portrait of the Hudson River Valley'' promised. Phillips is photography curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Weintraub is a gallery director at Bard College in New York. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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