If The Hyde Collection had ever hoped to mount an exhibition of the art of the Adirondacks, the result could not have been more comprehensive than the show that the Glens Falls museum is presenting through April 12th.
“Wild Nature: Masterworks from the Adirondack Museum,” as the title signifies, is composed solely of works within the permanent collection of the Adirondack Museum.
For those who have never visited the museum in Blue Mountain Lake, “Wild Nature” is an introduction both to master works of American art depicting the landscape of the Adirondacks and to the museum itself, which is closed in the off-season.
Works of the 19th century Hudson River School, by painters such as Thomas Cole, Sanford Robinson Gifford, John Frederick Kensett, Homer Dodge Martin, and Williams Trost Richards, are featured prominently.
“The 19th century works reveal how images of the Adirondack landscape shaped American perceptions of the wilderness landscape, and how these expectations, in turn, created wilderness as a national icon,” stated the show’s curators, Erin Coe, formerly of The Hyde, Laura Rice, chief curator of the Adirondack Museum and Caroline Welsh, senior art historian and director emeritus.
The selection of works from the 20th century, they stated, “explores how themes of wilderness persist in the work of these modern artists while their abstract or realist approach, combined with their own personal expression, reflects changing attitudes toward the natural environment.”
Illustrations provided by the Adirondack Museum: Above, Homer Dodge Martin (1836-1897), Mountain View on the Saranac, 1868; middle, Jonas Lie (1880-1940), Main Camp, Kamp Kill Kare, 1930; and below, Harold Weston (1894-1972), Giant, 1922.