Books devoted to the Hudson River School today are legion, but none that I know quite performs the service that this one does, and so entertainingly. ... For all, it relates the social dimension of the New York landscape painting phenomenon as no other book that I know has yet done so purposefully. Novices will be borne along by a well-paced narrative of artistic enterprise and community; specialists will be gratified by the encapsulation between two covers of an aesthetic movement they have theretofore conceptualized from a host of artist monographs and exhibition catalogues. --Foreword by Kevin J. Avery, Associate Curator, Department of American Paintings and Sculpture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Entertaining, skillfully presented, highly readable retelling of the fascinating story of America s first native school of art, the Hudson River School, from its rise in 1825 with the transforming landscapes of Thomas Cole, the founder, who succeeded in capturing the sublime qualities of American nature, to its broad dissemination and great popularity through the work of many subsequent practitioners including Church, Durand, Gifford, Kensett, Whittredge, Bierstadt, and Heade, to its decline around 1875 when other styles prevailed. Because of its charm, excellent scholarship and beautiful illustrations, Millhouse s fine book should be widely read and appreciated by those interested in American art. I recommend it enthusiastically. --Back cover copy by Elliot S. Vesell, M.D., ScD., Evan Pugh Professor, Penn State College of Medicine, editor of The Life and Works of Thomas Cole by Louis Legrand Noble
I simply couldn't put it down. American Wilderness brings to life this unique moment in our nation's cultural development when painters, poets, sculptors and writers all shared the common purpose of creating an American identity, and the public eagerly looked for them to provide it. It is a rare combination: a sweeping historical account (covering the better part of a century) of the first American art movement, and also a thrilling read, cinematic in scope and intensity. --Back cover copy by David Barnes, Board of Governors, Cedar Grove, the Thomas Cole National Historic Site
About the Author
Barbara Babcock Millhouse has been the driving force behind the Reynolda House collection of American art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Recently retired, she has served as chairman of the board of directors of Reynolda House since its inception in 1965. She co-authored American Originals; Selections from Reynolda House, Museum of American Art, a catalog for a traveling exhibition sponsored by the American Federation of Arts. She is a graduate of Smith College and Parsons School of Design, and lives in New York City.