By John Glass
Yareah magazine next issue (22) is going to be titled: Sea and Trips. We would like to study travel literature (Stevenson, Conrad, London…) but also artists who have reflected the feeling of a trip, maybe interior or perhaps exterior (first cannot be without second and vice versa).
Frederic Edwin Church (May 4, 1826 in Hartford – April 7, 1900 in New York) represents both kinds of trips. He was a central figure in the Hudson American School, artists centered in landscapes and fond of traveling to know and love what they would paint.
Frederic settled in New York soon (he was 19 y. o.) and every year, from spring to autumn he travelled sketching, often by foot. He returned each winter to the city to sell his work.
But he wanted to go far and from 1853 to 1857, he went to South America: Heart of the Andes, in the Metropolitan, it’s his most known work of that period and a complete success at this time. He married and had family, but his children died soon of diphtheria.
Frederic Edwin Church was a fighter and overcoming this tragedy, he had more children and together with his wife (Isabel Carnes) travelled to Europe and to the Middle East (Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Jordan and Egypt…).
He knew and painted all of the colors of all the regions: from the bright greens of the Northern Lights to the warm oranges of holly lands; from the pale blues of high mountains to the strange yellows of forgotten flowers… He painted East and West, North and South, and his paintings reflect the thoughts of a calm humanity who wants to know its reality but who wishes to fly always higher, to progress and to arrive someday to the Heavens.
My favorite Edwin Church’s painting is, no doubt, Broken Column. In the foreground, broken ancient stone: stone of the Parthenon, the temple of wisdom, which represents all of the problems that people have during his life and which sometimes break their hearts but, beyond, the Greek sky, the sky of the hope, the sky of a promise made for centuries: if you are strong enough you will go always farer.
Frederic Edwin Church had rheumatism, what adversely could affect his work. No problem, he was a traveler and started to paint with his left hand on a slower pace but always happy and smiling.
Video with paintings of Edwin Church:
Other artist of the Hudson American School:
Asher Brown Duran: http://yareah.com/?p=256