Saturday, February 12, 2011

Water, boats, history

This new season, the Newcomb Gallery on the Uptown campus at Tulane University, presents Reflections on Water in American Painting, an exhibition of 51 paintings from the Arthur J. Phelan Collection.

The painting in the first room gives the tone to this event. It represents early steamboats and was part of the display for the " Exposition Universelle" in Paris, 1855. It's interest is purely historical.
(photograph 1)

The paintings, all of modest size, represent boats, or more romantic views, with the sea and countryside in the background during the Hudson River School's period.

The realistic paintings, like postcards represent pleasant subjects, sea, beaches, rivers, swamps, succeeding to boats and bridges but none of them give us a whiff of sea breeze.

The collection has more a historical interest than artistic.

In 1913, the Armory Show brought a storm from Europe and American artists embraced the new ideas ... one century ago.

1. "Bateaux a Vapeur Geants", Hippolyte Victor Valentine Sebron, 1853
2." Steamboat at Night, Mississippi River", Charles M. Mcllhenney, ca. 1885

3." Beach Scene", Aiden Lassell Ripley, 1925

photographs 1 and 2 by the author

photograph 3 courtesy Newcomb Gallery, Tulane University.

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