Artists of the new West

The Hudson River School of the mid 19th Century produced artwork that developed our national identity and that of the newest part of the New World, the rugged West. I have here a sample of mostly Hudson River members, arranged in order of date. As you pass through, notice the effects of lighting used, the presentation of land masses, and the importance of scenery. Excluding Thomas Cole's first painting here, note that these artist had already spent most of the time that they would have together before painting these works. The outbreak and conclusion of the civil war is what sent these artists out from their school into the country sides.

Thomas Cole is commonly held to be the founder of the Hudson River school. Take notice his bright impression of what seems to be a setting sun. The mountain is carefully balanced with the trees so as to not take the painting, but it still stands as an expressed visual element.
Albert Bierstadt takes the same lighting approach, but subdues the foreground to allow the depth of the ranges in back. The elements leave the painting open on the right side in a way that continues the horizon. A disconnect between the fore and background mark a challenge we will see in these next paintings
Another by Bierstadt takes the light and gives it the centerfold to create depth. The foliage gives way to an encompassing ridge, making the break in the square elements of the land. He works to incorporate all of the land into one mass.
Duncanson never painted this in Italy but most likely in Canada. Notice a contrast in scenery depicted. The painting is much more stretched than that of Cole's and Bierstadt's, yet still cradled by the visual forms. The mountains are presented in both the fore and back ground.
This, and the next piece, came after the conclusion to the civil war. Notice the complete sparseness in these paintings, how the mountains are what keeps the field here from continuing into Elysium. The open surrounding presents a loneliness that I imagine was much sought after the busy life of a civil war.
Take notice of the subdued cover, color and visual forms. The slope of the ridge balances with the foliage as we saw in the previous works, but the towering grandeur has given way to an open realism. Notice how distance seems to be applied to the whole painting so as to fit the mountains with the land in one mass.
Haseltine as an American painter who spent most all his career in Europe. Notice the contrast of not just scenery by isolation of the elements shown. The foreground is presented so closely that the background seems even more open and expansive
This last piece by Whittredge has an unknown date of painting. Notice the elements borrowed in some of the later and earlier works you have just seen and compare it to this one. Notice the angle of viewing, the use of lighting and foliage, and the presentation of the mountain ridge. The land forms one large continuous mass, depicting a full immersive scene.
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