Imagine Niagara Falls, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Yosemite Valley … untouched by the industrial age in their natural beauty and splendor. There were no road signs cluttering the landscape; in fact, there were few roads. Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School transcends centuries to show visitors the powerful, breathtaking vistas that defined our heritage and shaped our nation. The landmark exhibition includes nearly 50 of the most important artworks of the first half of American history—many of them monumental in size—and comes from the acclaimed collection of the New-York Historical Society. Several paintings are coming to the Museum directly from exhibition at the Louvre.

This exhibition has been organized by the New-York Historical Society.

This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Additional support provided by the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Friends of Art.

Program sponsorship provided by the Milwaukee Art Museum’s American Arts Society.


Nature and the American Vision explores and showcases the beauty and vitality of the American landscape, as seen by early settlers and sightseers, in paintings by artists of the Hudson River School. Rising to prominence in New York during the first half of the nineteenth century, this loosely knit group of painters and like-minded poets and writers—widely considered the country’s first national artistic movement—undertook grueling expeditions through the Hudson River Valley and beyond to see sites firsthand. They looked to exploration of the natural world as a resource for spiritual renewal and as an expression of cultural and national identity.

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