International Landscape Influences Explored in First Exhibition in Newly Redesigned Gallery at the Newark Museum

Share Article

A major loan exhibition at the Newark Museum will explore Alpine landscape art and culture in the United States and Europe in the 19th century.

A major loan exhibition at the Newark Museum will explore Alpine landscape art and culture in the United States and Europe in the 19th century. This unique transnational show will feature stunning mountain scenes painted by of some of America’s most celebrated landscape artists—including Albert Bierstadt, Frederick Church and Thomas Cole—alongside master works by the influential Swiss Alpine painter Alexandre Calame and other leading European painters, such as J. M. W. Turner and John Ruskin. Opening on March 24, 2018, The Rockies & the Alps: Bierstadt, Calame, and the Romance with the Mountains is the inaugural show in the Museum’s new special exhibition gallery, a 5,000 square foot space redesigned as part of the major revitalization effort that included the 2017 reopening of the Museum’s main entrance on Washington Street. The exhibition is organized by the Newark Museum and is co-curated by Katherine Manthorne, a specialist in modern art of the Americas, and Tricia Laughlin Bloom, Curator of American Art, Newark Museum.

Bringing together 60 paintings, prints and photographs as well as a diverse selection of books and other material culture from the period, The Rockies & the Alps places the Newark Museum’s renowned collection of landscape painting in context with works from public and private collections from around the country. From majestic scenes of the American West to up-close views of the great peaks and luminous glaciers of the Alps, The Rockies and Alps takes visitors on a visual journey to some of the most spectacular natural spaces in the world. Many of the paintings in the exhibition are on loan from distinguished private collections and are rarely exhibited, making this a unique opportunity for encountering American and European landscapes together. As the exhibition demonstrates, a number of American artists traveled and studied in the Alps in the 19th century. Bierstadt traveled to the Alps for the first time in 1853, prior to developing his grand style of painting the landscapes of the American West. The importance of these European excursions has been long noted, but this exhibition marks the first time an international perspective on American landscape painting has been so broadly and thoroughly investigated.

“The Rockies and Alps will introduce old and new audiences alike to the great beauty of these extraordinary landscapes,” said Steven Kern, the Museum’s Director and CEO. “By displaying the works together, the exhibition will explore the dialogue between European and American landscape artists during the 19th century, and put forward a new narrative of transnational artistic and cultural influences.”

With forty artists represented, the exhibition takes a broad view of the practice of plein air painting in the mountains, spanning from the eighteenth century—with early figures such as the Swiss painter Caspar Wolf and the English landscape artist Joseph Mallord William Turner—into the early-twentieth century, with a John Singer Sargent camping scene painted in the Canadian Rockies. Integrating informal sketches and finished oil paintings with historical photographs, prints, stereoscope cards and travel literature, the show also connects landscape painting on both continents to the then-emerging fields of mountain climbing and tourism, as well as scientific exploration and field studies which were integral to the landscape artist’s experience. “This broad and encyclopedic approach not only allows us to showcase the Museum’s diverse collections, it fits in conceptually with the narrative shifts to be found in our recently reimagined Seeing America galleries,” notes Bloom.

A highlight of the exhibition will be numerous works by Alexandre Calame, the leader of the Swiss alpine school. Calame’s paintings convey the power of nature and the vast Alpine landscape in captivating detail, and may be something of a revelation to American audiences. Just as Bierstadt’s paintings opened the wonders of America’s Western frontier and the North American Rockies to the world, Calame’s vivid depictions of Alpine peaks, lakes, and waterfalls revealed the majesty of the Swiss Alps to international audiences.

The Museum is co-publishing, with Giles, Ltd., a fully illustrated catalogue in conjunction with this exhibition that features four original, scholarly essays that further advance the argument that European painters influenced American landscape painting. This project will be rounded out by a full roster of Museum education programs that will serve adults, children and families alike.

Major support for The Rockies and Alps is provided by the PSN Family Charitable Trust, Beverly K. Nadler and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by George Robb, Ph.D., Barbara Brous, Eleonore Kessler Cohen and Max Insel Cohen, Mary and Raymond Courtien, Ellen and Don Greenfield, Ruth L. Hutter, Judy Lieberman and The Marie and Joe Melone Exhibition Fund for American Art.

For additional information, follow the Museum on Facebook at or Twitter at; or by visiting

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Lisa Batitto