Collection

Frederic Edwin Church
American, 1826-1900

Autumn in North America, c. 1856
Oil on board
Gift of Matthew Vassar
1864.1.16
Period: 19th c
Classification: Painting
Dimensions: Unframed: 11 1/4 x 17 in. (28.58 x 43.18 cm) Framed: 18 x 23 7/8 x 2 1/4 in. (45.72 x 60.64 x 5.72 cm)
Signatures, Inscriptions and Markings v
Signed (LR): F CHURCH
Provenance v
Collections: Elias Magoon
Published References v
Nobuyuki, Okabe, "Paris--New York; Modern Paintings in 19th and 20th Century Master Works from the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College," (Japan: Yamagata Museum of Art) Cat. no. 9, p. 51; Mundy, James, The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center: Vassar College The History and Collection (New York: Prestel Publishing, 2007), p. 76-77 repr.; Humanizing Landscapes: Geography, Culture, and the Magoon Collection, (Poughkeepsie: FLLAC, 2000), p. 61, repr.; All Seasons in Every Light, (Poughkeepsie: FLLAC, 1983), p. 42 repr.
Exhibition History v
Japan, Shimane Art Museum, "Paris--New York; Modern Paintings in 19th and 20th Century Master Works from the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York," March 7 - May 11, 2008; Japan, Ishibashi Museum of Art, "Paris--New York; Modern Paintings in 19th and 20th Century Master Works from the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York," May 17 - July 20, 2008; Japan, Yamagata Museum of Art, "Paris--New York; Modern Paintings in 19th and 20th Century Master Works from the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York," July 30 - August 31, 2008; Japan. Fuchu Art Museum, "Paris--New York; Modern Paintings in 19th and 20th Century Master Works from the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York," September 6 - November 3, 2008; Japan, Miyazaki Prefectural Art Museum, "Paris--New York; Modern Paintings in 19th and 20th Century Master Works from the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York," November 14 - December 14, 2008; Poughkeepsie, New York, FLLAC, and Ithaca, New York, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, "A Focused Collection: The Hudson River School," April 21-October 19, 2007: Dallas, Texas, Dallas Museum of Art, "The Painted Sketch: American Impressions from Nature, 1830-1880," June 21- September 20, 1998; SECOND SIGHT: Originality, Duplicity, and the Object January 14-April 10, 2005; Poughkeepsie, NY, Vassar College Art Gallery, "All Seasons and Every Light" 14 Oct. - 16 Dec. 1983; Lincoln, MA, DeCordova and Dana Museum and Park, "All Seasons and Every Light" 5 Feb. - 25 March, 1984; West Palm Beach, FL, Norton Museum of Art, "All Seasons and Every Light" 25 March - 1 July 1984; Evanston, IL, Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, Northwestern University, "All Seasons and Every Light" 16 Nov. 1984 - 13 Jan. 1985; Poughkeepsie, NY, The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, "Humanizing Landscapes: Geography, Culture and the Magoon Collection" 5 Oct. - 20 Dec. 2000.
Description v
This painting, like all works that bear the credit line to Matthew Vassar, arrived at the college at its founding in 1864. They were, for the most part, assembled by Elias Magoon, a Baptist minister, art collector, and early trustee of Vassar College. Magoon bought this work, along with two others, from the artist in 1856, still some eight years before his report to the trustees of Vassar College in 1864, convincing them of the need for a museum and collection of original works of art, rather than the copies that they were then acquiring. The work of Frederic Edwin Church is associated by most scholars with the apogee of the inventiveness and expressiveness of the Hudson River School, the work of several generations of artists who believed in exploring the range of natural beauty in the northeastern American landscape. Church himself created the largest, most sublime and operatic of these landscapes, usually not specific renderings of actual places but often Romantic amalgamations of the most striking and picturesque locales. Church’s studio and home, Olana, is located in Hudson, New York, some forty miles north of Vassar College. The large version of Autumn in North America resides there, originally stem- ming from a commission from Church’s parents in that year. Vassar’s paint- ing, like most purchased by Magoon, is small in scale yet holds a tremendous amount of visual information, rendered with the same intensity of Church’s larger works. The period of the 1850s was one of the most productive of the artist’s career, culminating in several of his best known compositions, including possibly his two greatest tours de force, Niagara (1857, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) and Heart of the Andes (1859, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). This was also the time of his travels to South America in 1853, inspired by his reading of the journeys of German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt that served as a watershed of visual resources for much of his career, including that for Summer in South America, an oil sketch made in Ecuador, which is also in the collection at Vassar.
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