Friday, September 25, 2009

Important Exhibition Of 19th-Century Landscape Art Opens At Washington College's New Kohl Gallery

Chestertown – “Second Nature: Masterpieces of 19th-Century Landscape Painting,” featuring seldom-displayed masterworks from some of the major artists of the period, opens at Washington College’s new Kohl Gallery on October 2 and will be on view through November 15.

The exhibition features 23 rarely seen paintings from a private collection, including artworks by Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Frederic Edwin Church, Camille Corot, Martin Johnson Heade, Thomas Moran, Alfred Sisley and Thomas Worthington Whittredge.

The masterpieces constitute an auspicious debut for the College’s first-ever climate-controlled, secure exhibition space, the 1,200-square-foot Kohl Gallery, funded by Washington College parents Benjamin and Judy Kohl.

The Kohl Gallery is located in the newly opened Daniel Z. Gibson Center for the Arts, a $24-million renovation and expansion of the original performing arts center built more than 40 years ago. The gallery and its inaugural exhibition are being unveiled as part of the Gibson Center’s gala opening ceremonies October 2 – October 4.

Sponsored by Brown Advisory, “Second Nature” was curated by Donald McColl, Nancy L. Underwood Chair in Art History, Chair in the Department of Art and Art History and Director of the Kohl Gallery at Washington College.

Dr. McColl was assisted by students in last spring’s Museum Studies class at the College, by Kohl Gallery Interns Colleen Kearins ’09, Erin Harrison ’09, Riley Carbonneau ’10 and Andrea Roth ’10, and by alumni of, and colleagues in, the Department of Art and Art History.

Though its origins are traceable to the Renaissance, landscape painting flourished in the 1800s as never before. Artists, increasingly freed from state or church patronage, catered to a growing system of galleries, dealers and collectors. Landscape, previously considered a minor genre, began to garner new respect, and evolved in tandem with a reverence for natural beauty, and a national pride felt by artists for the sweeping vistas of their respective homelands.

Artists in the exhibition not only documented rare and distant species, and made images so powerful as to spur the formation of America’s first national park, but also helped lift the spirits of those who were too ill to walk in nature, by creating a likeness of a spring flower or a lush field that could well outlast its subject.

Visitors to the “Second Nature” exhibition will see stirring examples from landscape painting’s apogee, including such works as Claude Monet’s “Le Val d’Antifer,” Thomas Moran’s “Tantallon Castle,” Jules Jacques Veyrassat’s “Scène de Forêt,” George Inness’ “Landscape with a Split-Rail Fence” and many others.

“Second Nature: Masterpieces of 19th-Century Landscape Painting” will open to the public on Friday, October 2, from 2 to 8 p.m. The exhibition will continue at the Kohl Gallery on Tuesdays through Saturdays through November 15.

Gallery hours are: Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesdays through Fridays from 2 to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (The gallery is closed Sundays and Mondays.) A $5 donation is requested. Students will be admitted free of charge.

During the exhibition’s first week, viewing hours will be extended: Saturday, October 3, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Tuesday through Friday, October 6-9, from 2 to 8 p.m. For more information about other events during the Gibson Center’s gala opening weekend, visit

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