Published: January 27, 2004
Kodner Gallery Explores the Art of Western Expansion
Kodner Gallery, 7501 Forsyth Boulevard, will exhibit “Beyond the Endless River – Art of the American Frontier,” February 5-May 15. The show will feature 100 paintings, watercolors, drawings, prints and sculptures by artists who committed years of traveling, exploring and illustrating the Western expansion.
Artists featured in the exhibit will include: Karl Bodmer (1809-1893); Charles M. Russell (1864-1926); Oscar E. Beminghaus (1874-1952); Frederic Sackrider Remington (1861-1909); Thomas Moran (1837-1926); Carl Wimar (1828-1862); Cassily Adams (1843-1921); George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879); and Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874).
The “Endless River” referred to in the show’s title was how James Fenimore Cooper referred to the Mississippi River in several of his writings.
During the first half of the Nineteenth Century, many artists visited the American frontier to accompany survey parties. Karl Bodmer was a draughtsman for Prince Maximilian Zu Wied, who was a naturalist. From 1833 to 1834 Bodmer traveled with the prince along the Missouri River, creating exquisitely detailed renderings of the inhabitants and landscapes that the party encountered, as seen in the exhibit’s original hand-colored aquatint engravings entitled “Pehriska-Ruhpa” and “Mato-Tope.”
Perhaps the greatest of the explorer-artists was Thomas Moran who accompanied Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden’s “U.S. Geological Survey of the Geological Territories” from 1869 to 1872. Other artists assisting Hayden included photographer William H. Jackson, represented with “Ambush,” an original hand-colored photograph. Unlike photographers and survey artists, Moran brought a new element to the subject. Although he was never an “official” survey painter, it was his experiences with Hayden that propelled him to national recognition.
Moran’s concern, expressed in his oil paintings was “to preserve and convey the scene’s true impression.” Capturing the locale’s ambience was his aim, unlike the academic intentions represented by artists such as Karl Bodmer and George Catlin (also represented in this exhibition). In “Pictured Rocks, Lake Superior” Thomas Moran captures the chilling snow-covered landscape that surrounds the north cave of the tranquil lake.
George Caleb Bingham’s portrait of Colonel Caleb Smith Stone is included; the colonel is thought to be the first curator of collections for the University of Missouri at Columbia.
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