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Images of the American Landscape

A new exhibition at Princeton University’s Firestone Library showcases the American Landscape.

Exhibition Dates: April 14 through October 6, 2002.

The intersection of nature and culture in the American landscape-and its interpretation by artists from the 16th-20th century--is the focus of a new exhibition currently on view in the Milberg Gallery for the Graphic Arts in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Firestone Library.

Rebecca Davidson, curator of the exhibition and of Princeton's Graphic Arts Collection, says that the title of the show, "Heroic Pastorals," was deliberately chosen to highlight the tensions between Americans' feelings of awe and admiration of their native landscape, and the need to tame, dominate, and exploit its magnificent scenery and bountiful resources: thus the combination of heroic--epic tales celebrating achievement--and pastoral--the idealization of country life.

Included in the exhibition are Frederick Church's awe-inspiring vista of Niagara and Thomas Hill's painting of Yosemite, as well as Carleton Watkins' photograph of decimated forests along the Columbia River in Oregon. Of special interest are the panoramic nineteenth-century views of American cities, the exquisite aquatints of artists such as Karl Bodmer and John Latrobe, and the finely-crafted Depression-era landscapes of less well-known but talented printmakers such as Hubert Deines and Stella Drabkin. Visitors to this exhibition will find much material for reflection, Davidson believes, in these images of landscapes which, though irretrievably lost, still sustain our sense of place and inspire our efforts to save what remains.

The Leonard L. Milberg Gallery for the Graphic Arts is open to the public without charge Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.

For a schedule of tours and other events associated with this exhibition, please call Graphic Arts at 609-258-3197, or write davidson@princeton.edu.

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Department of Rare Books and Special Collections
Email: rbsc@princeton.edu 
Tel: (609) 258-3184
Fax: (609) 258-2324

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