The Italian Presence in American Art, 1860-1920

By Irma B. Jaffe | Go to book overview
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Most of Church's sketches discussed in this article are now in the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, while the majority of archival materials, including documents, printed books, and photographs, are preserved at Olana State Historic Site. I would particularly like to thank Elaine Dee, Gail Davidson, and Megan Smith, all of the former institution, for their assistance there, and James A. Ryan and Joel Sweimler for assistance at Olana State Historic Site.

Church's works of Near Eastern themes are insightfully discussed by J. Davis, "Frederic Church's 'Sacred Geography,"' Smithsonian Studies in American Art, 1, Spring 1987, 79-96.
Church's extant correspondence contains several distinctly uncomplimentary references to modern and ancient Italy. For a sampling, see D. Huntington, "Frederic Edwin Church, 1826-1900: Painter of the Adamic New World Myth," Ph. D. diss., Yale University, 1960; Ann Arbor and London, 1969, 182, 185-86; Huntington, The Landscapes of Frederic Edwin Church, New York, 1966, 91. See also A. Blaugrund "The Old Boy Network in Rome: Tenth Street Studio Artists Abroad," chap. 16, below.
On one of his few trips outside Rome, Church painted an oil study of Monte Guinaro, possibly because the scene reminded him of the Lebanese desert. The work, dated February 1869, was recently on the art market ( Christie sale, New York, March 15, 1985, no. 18A).
In the Olana collections there are eight photographs of the temples at Paestum (inv. nos. OL.1983-495, OL.1983-497-503). At the Cooper-Hewitt Museum there are one oil study (inv. no. 1917-4-331) and four large graphite drawings by Church of the subject; one of the latter is discussed and illustrated in E. Dee, To Embrace the Universe: The Drawings of Frederic Edwin Church, Exhibition Catalogue, Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, N.Y., 1984, 106-107.
The painting was listed no. 34 in the exhibition catalogue. See Catalogue of Paintings, Now Exhibiting in the Wadsworth Gallery, Hartford, Exhibition Catalogue, Hartford, Conn., 1844, 18-19.
This is affirmed by a letter from Charles Walker to Frederic Church, dated Hartford, February 3, 1880 ( Archives, Olana State Historic Site), written on a sheet of stationery displaying at the top an image of Cole's painting of Mount Aetna.
Cooper-Hewitt inv. no. 1917-4-1293. The drawing comes from a "small" sketchbook, now dismembered, that Church purchased on July 3, 1844. Church cited the purchase in a MS notebook ( Olana Archives) covering his expenditures for his first year as Cole's student, between June 1844 and May 1845.
Church listed the purchase in a MS notebook ( Olana Archives) covering his expenditures between June 1845 and June 1846, his second year with Cole.
The painting, of oval format, is illustrated and discussed (without topographic identification) in F. Kelly and G. Carr, The Early Landscapes of Frederic Edwin Church, 1844-1854, Exhibition Catalogue, Amon Carter Museum of Art, Fort Worth, Texas, 1987, 78-80.
The two works in question are paintings of the Ecuadorian volcano Cotopaxi, illustrated and discussed in K. Manthorne, Creation and Renewal: Views of Cotopaxi by Frederic Edwin Church, Exhibition Catalogue, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 1985, 76.
Cooper-Hewitt inv. no. 1917-4-1465; the drawing on the recto is inscribed "On Simplon."
Most of the drawings, some transcribed in a small sketchbook and the others on larger sheets of paper, are in the Cooper-Hewitt Museum; a few are in a private collection. Noteworthy among those items in the Cooper-Hewitt Museum are an oil study (not inscribed) of Monte Rosa (inv no. 1917-4-568B); and drawings of a small chapel, and another of a one- arched bridge, both near Ceppo Morelli (inv. no. 1917-4-1304); a view of Monte Rosa, and a narrow cascade (inv. no. 1917-4-1303); and a view of a declivity "Between Ceppo Morelli and Macugnaga," a wood bridge clinging to the sheer wall (inv. no. 1917-4-421).
J. Murray, A Handbook for Travellers in Switzerland, and the Alps of Savoy and Piedmont, London,


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