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American Paintings and Sculpture
Artist: Frederic Edwin Church, American, 1826–1900
Oil on canvas
92.1 x 140.3 cm (36 1/4 x 55 1/4 in.), framed: 131.128 x 181.769 x 21.273 cm (51 5/8 x 71 9/16 x 8 3/8 in.)
Stanley B. Resor, B.A. 1901, Fund
Frederic Edwin Church traveled to northern Maine soon after the publication of Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Ktaadn and the Maine Woods.” In this canvas, Church brings the landscape that Thoreau called “exceedingly wild and desolate” subtly under control by imagining its civilized future. Cattle, sawmill, bridge, buggy, and men harmoniously coexist, domesticating the landscape without appearing to disturb its natural beauty. The soaring mountain remains outside the bounds of such cultivation. Church optimistically evokes the divine destiny of a young country by bathing the land in the sunset’s spiritual glow.
Alan Shestack, ed., Yale University Art Gallery Selections (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1983), 5859, ill.
Helen A. Cooper et al., Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008), 175, 24041, no. 136, ill.
Christie’s New York, New York, Christie’s Important American Paintings, Drawings and Sculptures, sale cat. (November 30, 2011), 72, ill.
John Wilmerding, Maine Sublime: Frederic Edwin Church’s Landscapes of Mount Desert and Mount Katahdin (Seattle: The Olana Partnership, 2012), 45, fig. 34.
Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.