Open-Air Sketching

Nineteenth-Century American Landscape Drawings in the Albany Institute of History and Art

By Elizabeth K. Allen

Subjects: Art, New York/regional
Imprint: Distribution Partners
Paperback : 9780939072132, 32 pages, January 1998

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Nineteenth-century landscape and outdoor drawings and sketches by the Hudson River School artists and others.


Showcased in these pages are nineteenth-century American drawings by Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, Sanford Gifford, Jasper Cropsey, William Stanley Haseltine, Walter Launt Palmer, and other members of the Hudson River school. Included are rarely seen works by Cole and other first-generation Hudson River school painters who popularized open-air sketching as a crucial preliminary stage of a completed landscape painting. By directly portraying scenic vistas and individual trees, rocks, and flowers, artists collected the necessary data for their grand studio canvases that would be true to nature.

Gradually, these drawings were appreciated for their own artistic merit and even produced as finished pieces or presentation drawings. In an era before photography was commonplace, artists also used drawing as a means of recording and copying other important works of art. This catalogue is organized into two sections: sketchbooks with studies of individual motifs and preparatory records with presentation drawings.

Elizabeth K. Allen is the author of From Stonecutter to Sculptor: Charles Calverley, 1833–1914.