Not Your Mother’s Hudson River School
By Lori Hope Baumel
“The Hudson River School was America’s first true artistic fraternity. Its name was coined to identify a group of New York City-based landscape painters that emerged about 1850 under the influence of the English émigré Thomas Cole (1801–1848) and flourished until about the time of the Centennial.”
– Metropolitan Museum of Art, Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
As a child I was fortunate to have taken field trips to museums all over New York City. In addition, my father loved the Metropolitan Museum of Art and he would bring me there on occasion. He was particularly enamored with the painting entitled The Storm by Pierre Auguste Cot and would make a point of visiting his favorite masterpiece every time we visited.
In my youth, I did not know much about the paintings or sculpture I was looking at, but the vastness of the large gallery space intrigued me. I knew nothing about their investment value either and questioned why it was so important to devote entire buildings to these works of art? As I grew, the answers came to me through continuous exposure. Also, I was very lucky to marry a man who, amongst his many talents, had an extensive knowledge of the visual arts.
In the art world, pieces are identified by their genre or era. Familiar terms like Renaissance, Impressionism, and Cubism are just a needle in the haystack of styles. Early on, one of the “styles” that I found difficult to comprehend was work done by the Hudson River School painters (circa 1820 – 1870’s). These pieces were often dark and dreary. The subject matter, mostly ships on the water, did not interest me at the time. Regardless, my father took my hand and I was impatiently dragged through the Hudson River School galleries.
When invited to attend a press conference for the Norton Museum’s new exhibit, Industrial Sublime: Modernism and the transformation of New York’s Rivers, 1900 – 1940, I thought I would give the Hudson River School “another shot” so to speak. Apparently, most of the work I had been exposed to was mid 19th century. I was curious to see the later work done by this fraternity of painters. I felt that if I learned about it I might gain an appreciation for it.
Needless to say, I was completely “blown away” by the knowledge I came home with. Apparently, the Hudson River School had a revival in the 20th Century and this gem of a retrospective displays the best of it. As a member of the press, I was privileged to be escorted through the exhibit by two of its expert curators, Bartholomew F. Bland and Ellen E. Roberts.
Initially, when entering Industrial Sublime, I set my eyes upon work that was colorful, industrial and moving. The historical path went from mountains to cranes. The hustle-bustle of a city and its rivers burgeoning upon the after-effects of the industrial revolution was a wake-up call to the importance of this art form. Subjects that are often overdone, like the use of the Brooklyn Bridge, were depicted in ways I had never seen before. Painting methods and brush strokes were so varied that I did not know what to expect each time I turned a corner.
At the end of the press conference, I realized that I experienced a metamorphosis. What I once thought to be unexciting came alive for me. Industrial Sublime: Modernism and the transformation of New York’s Rivers symbolizes a love of the city, depicting its history, its billowing smoke whilst airbrushing out the grime of the industrial revolution. How lucky I was to have had this opportunity… and to enjoy it along with the curators that assembled this refreshing retrospective. Most importantly, it reminded me to remain open-minded about the many art forms I don’t know much about.
In the midst of Industrial Sublime, a poem by Hart Crane is printed on the museum wall. It reads:
I urge our Around Wellington readership to experience Industrial Sublime: Modernism and the transformation of New York’s Rivers, 1900 – 1940 currently on display at the Norton Museum of Art.
Live… Go… Do!
Top 5 List for May 2014
The Norton Museum Of Art
Industrial Sublime: Modernism and the Transformation of New York’s Rivers, 1900-1940
Featuring paintings by leading artists such as George Bellows, Robert Henri, John Marin, Reginald Marsh, Georgia O’Keeffe, and John Sloan, this exhibition examines the shift to urban views of New York’s waterways between 1900 and 1940 as Realists and Modernists conceived a new pictorial language to treat American industrialism. Having jettisoned the romantic ideals of forebears — such as the Hudson River School — who had ignored the industrialization of the region, these artists celebrated the changing way of life along the city’s waterfront. Instead of majestic mountains, they painted the modern waterways’ bridges, cranes, and ocean liners, using an increasingly sharp focus and borrowing ideals from the Machine Age. Twentieth-century artists took the elements of the Sublime, combined them with Modernism’s interest in structure and form, and applied them to humankind’s industry, thereby creating a new visual vocabulary for the modern era: the Industrial Sublime.
Organized by the Hudson River Museum. Local presentation of this exhibition is made possible in part through the generosity of Mrs. Anne Berkley Smith. With additional support provided by the Mr. and Mrs. Hamish Maxwell Exhibition Endowment and The Priscilla and John Richman Endowment for American Art. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue have been made possible by a generous grant from the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, Inc. The exhibition catalogue is supported, in part, by Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund. – Norton Museum website and press release
Exhibit ends June 22, 2014
For more information see:
2) A Mother’s Day Treat:
Tales My Mother Told
May 11, 2014 at 4 PM
Presented by Ballet Palm Beach at the Eissey Theater – Palm Beach State College
Celebrate Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 11, 2014, with Ballet Palm Beach’s final performance of the season. Tales My Mother Told Me is a mixed repertoire program with dances inspired by stories from our childhood. The ballet will be at 4:00pm on Mother’s Day – a perfect way to spend the time with Mom! Tickets start at $15. Phone: 561-207-5900.
For more information see:
Sunday, May 18, 2014 – 7 to 9 PM
Presented by 350 young singers from Palm Beach and Martin Counties: SingsSpiration will be an evening of music and entertainment that will inspire, uplift, surprise and leave you with a joyful heart.
Admission Info: $10-$40
For more information see: www.yspb.org
3 Stages • 50 Bands • Juried Art
SunFest is Florida’s largest waterfront music and art festival held annually in downtown West Palm Beach. This year’s lineup includes an incredible variety of national acts: Kid Rock, Ellie Goulding, Robin Thicke, The Goo Goo Dolls, Dick Dale, Daughtry, Doobie Brothers, Cake, Justin Moore, Blues Traveler, The Wailers and many more. The five-day festival also includes a fine art & craft show featuring the work of more than 140 national artists, and ends with a fireworks show that is not to be missed!
For ticket prices and the complete list of performers visit
Phone: 800-SUNFEST (786-3378)
Individual Dates & Times:
May 1, 2014: 5 pm – 10 pm (Thu)
May 2, 2014: 5 pm – 11 pm (Fri)
May 3, 2014: 12 pm – 11 pm (Sat)
May 4, 2014: 12 pm – 9 pm (Sun)
5) Expand your horizons:
The Walk to Fisterra with Dane Johansen, Cellist
Presented by Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 6 PM Cocktails 7 – 8:30 PM Performance
The Brazilian Court Hotel
301 Australian Avenue, Palm Beach
Hear Dane perform as he prepares for “The Walk to Fisterra” in May, 2014 when he will walk nearly 600 miles through Spain on the Camino de Santiago, carrying his cello and performing Bach’s Six Suites for Solo Cello in ancient churches along the way.
Alaskan cellist, Dane Johansen appears frequently on the world’s leading stages including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City, the Kennedy Center, BBC Proms in London, and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. He has performed with leading artists including James Levine, Pinchas Zukerman, and Mitsuko Uchida. His critically acclaimed performances have been described as “Ravishing… Brave and virtuosic” and “played with staggering aplomb” by the New York Times and New York Magazine. Dane is on faculty at the Juilliard School and has taught at many of the world’s leading conservatories including the Royal Academy in Lon-don. He enjoyed the unique opportunity to apprentice with Bernard Greenhouse, the most distinguished pupil of the great Catalan cellist, Pau Casals, throughout the last five years of Greenhouse’s life. Read more at www.danejohansen.com.
“Bach’s Suites for Solo Cello represent the beginning and end of my relationship with music. They were among the first pieces I played as a child and the rest of my life will be spent working toward their mastery. Generations of cellists have considered mastery of the Suites as a pinnacle of artistic achievement and a rite of passage. A life spent in pursuit of such a singular goal is like a pilgrimage; it is endless and requires extreme effort, daily commitment, and absolute resolve. I have decided to combine my musical pilgrimage with a physical one. In 2014 I will walk nearly 600 miles on the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage route beginning in France and crossing Spain to the Atlantic Ocean. I will carry my cello, performing and recording Bach’s Suites in ancient churches along the way. Walking with me, a team of brilliant filmmakers and a three-time Grammy Award winning music producer will create a visually stunning documentary exploring pilgrimage and music as timeless connections to the past, present, and future; featuring the Camino de Santiago and my first recording of Bach’s Suites for Solo Cello.”
– – Dane Johansen
Learn more about this exciting journey at www.walktofisterra.com.
Lori Hope Baumel and her husband Eric live in Wellington and have three children.
Their eldest, Sam, 27, is a media producer and conceptual artist who currently resides in (extremely hipster) Brooklyn, NY. Her younger children, Evan and Rachel, wrote the Around Wellington “Teen Talk” column in previous years. Rachel, 24, lives and works in Boston, MA and Evan, 21, is a senior at American University in Washington DC. Eric has practiced radiology in Wellington since 1991. His many talents include artist, cook, photographer and, recently, medical app developer. You can learn more about Lori at www.loribaumel.com or read her blog:www.grownupcamp.tumblr.com