|Cover of the Exhibition Catalogue|
I visited it yesterday on Day 1 of the exhibition and highly recommend it. I don't think I've been quite so impressed by small plein air oil sketches in some time.
Through American Eyes: Frederic Church and the Landscape Oil Sketch is a small exhibition in Room 1 of the National Gallery. It has some 25 oil sketches and one large oil painting by Frederic Church.
Most were done as studies for larger paintings. They're small and yet seem to be miniature versions of the luminous landscapes so often portrayed by Church. His mastery of tonalism is quite exquisite. When you get closer it's apparent that most are indeed oil sketches / studies. However a few are much more finished works and indeed were framed and hung in his house at Olana.
To me they're a real education in how good draughtsmanship and good judgement about tonal values and colour can make even a small oil sketch an impressive work of art.
I found it fascinating that the majority are oil on paper on board or canvas. I'm not familiar with this way of working but I'm sure those that work plein air will want to take a look at the quality of the finish and the archival quality of the sketches decades later - which incidentally is excellent.
|Niagara Falls, from the American Side|
The exhibition catalogue Frederic Church and the Landscape Oil Sketch is selling fast judging by the number of copies left in the adjacent shop and I'm not surprised. It's got some excellent reproductions and costs £9.99. You can View spreads of this book (1.7 MB PDF)
Loans have been made to the exhibition by
- the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York which has a collection of over 2,000 oil sketches and graphite drawings by Frederic Church
- Olana, the estate next to the Hudson River (now a New York State Historic Site) which Church bought and developed as his home and own personal landscape.
- in Room 1 at the National Gallery (6 February – 28 April 2013)
- Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh (11 May – 8 September 2013).