Published: March 6, 2007
Consuming Views: Art & Tourism In the White Mountains 1850‱900, New Hampshire Historical Society, Edited by Donna-Belle Garvin. University Press of New England, 1 Court Street, Lebanon, NH 03766; 2006, 119 pages, $39.95 cloth cover.
The White Mountains of New Hampshire was a mecca for artists and tourists seeking respite from the rigors of Nineteenth Century life. Majestic mountains towered over valleys buffeted by the impressive Lake Winnipesaukee and glorious rivers. The air was pure and the water clean.
Published as a catalog to the same-named exhibition on view through May 6 at the society’s museum in Concord, N.H., this book spotlights many largely unknown artists while including works from a few well-known artists such as Jasper Francis Cropsey and David Johnson, more commonly associated with the Hudson River School. The selection was deliberate to enhance the public’s understanding of the breadth of White Mountain art.
More than 400 artists are known to have painted White Mountains scenes in the Nineteenth Century, according to the authors. Despite this rich heritage, the artistic legacy of the White Mountains has received scant attention and has only had two exhibitions devoted to it until now.
Consuming Views focuses on the connection between tourism and art and how the White Mountains have been perceived and reinterpreted over the years. Each work of art shows a recognizable White Mountain subject amid a diverse grouping of 37 works by 32 different artists.
Back in the day, travelers would access the area first by steamer or rail but the final leg of the journey was usually stagecoach. Hotels sprang up at key tourist destinations and many invited artists to paint there and stock their studios with works that would sell from genre scenes to still lifes and landscapes.
Organized geographically, the book highlights the well-known Mount Washington and The Old Man of the Mountain as well as Franconia Notch, Saco River, North Conway, Echo Lake and other stunning landmarks.
The book will captivate readers who hold dear memories of vacations spent in the White Mountains as well as anyone with an appreciation for art. ⁁VV
Editor Note: See related story online on the exhibition, Consuming Views: Art & Tourism In the White Mountains 1850‱900,†on view through May 6.
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