We went to Cooperstown this past Monday to catch the last day of the Wyeth Family exhibit at the Fenimore Art Museum. It was a great show featuring work from patriarch NC Wyeth, son Andrew, grandson Jamie, daughter Henriette and daughter Carolyn as well as Henriette’s husband, Peter Hurd and NC’s primary influence Howard Pyle. That’s a lot of talent to jam into a relatively intimate space. You might think that it would be less than satisfying but the curating of this show was masterful, showing each artist in a truly representative manner that gave a real taste of their body of work. Just a wonderful show. I am glad I got to see it if only to see a few of NC Wyeth’s gorgeous works and to discover more about his son-in-law, Peter Hurd, whose work is wonderful, bringing to mind the regionalist painters such as Grant Wood.
Of course, there was also the spectacular Thaw Collection of American Indian Art to see. As always, it was a thrill to see the beautiful aesthetic of the native culture. And as good as both the Wyeth show and the Thaw Collection were, I was truly bowled over by the current show, The Hudson River School: Nature and the American Vision, featuring works from the Hudson River painters of the 19th century, Just beautiful and strong examples from the genre, highlighted for me by the works of Asher Durand and the spectacular Thomas Cole series of five paintings, The Course of Empire , which features the rise and fall of an empire in the landscape, a rocky peak with a precariously perched boulder standing as a constant witness. You have probably seen some of the paintings from this series but to see them together in their full scale is to really get a great appreciation for their power. It hangs at the Fenimore until September 29, so if you can, take a trip and see some incredible work.