On the occasion of its 30th anniversary, the Hermitage Foundation has, in summer 2014, a special exhibition dedicated to American painting of the nineteenth century. Centered around the landscape, portraiture and still life, this event brings together a collection of works made between 1830 and 1900, and for the most part presented for the first time in Europe.
During this crucial period in the history of the United States of America, artists distance themselves gradually from their European models and develop an innovative art. By its vitality and uniqueness, the American artistic creation actively supports the emergence of a new national and democratic identity.
This project marks a new phase in the exploration of American art that the Hermitage Foundation has initiated with the Andy Warhol (1995) exhibition, followed by American Impressionism (2002) and Edward Hopper (2010). It is also part of a series of exhibitions dedicated to the major centers of Western art in the nineteenth century, whose milestones were Impressions of the North: Scandinavian Painting (2005), Belgium Unveiled (2007) and, more recently, El Modernism. Sorolla to Picasso (2011).
Still little known to the general European public, American painting, whose growth was considerable in the nineteenth century is presented through more than 70 works. The landscape is in the spotlight, with works by artists of the Hudson River School (Thomas Cole, Jasper Cropsey F., Albert Bierstadt, Frederic E. Church and Thomas Moran) and Luminist movement (John Kensett, Fitz Henry Lane and Levi Wells Prentice) . Along with several portraits of Native Americans painted by George Catlin are also scenes of daily life and portraits by the realist painters Thomas Eakins and Richard C. Woodville. Finally, works by William M. Harnett, John F. Peto, DeScott Evans and John Haberle illustrate the profound renewal of the original genre of still life painting.