COOPERSTOWN, NY—The Fenimore Art Museum will showcase three exhibitions featuring seminal works of the American West in 2007, including Ansel Adams: The Man Who Captured the Earth’s Beauty; Myth & Reality: The Art of the Great Plains; and Treasures from the Frederic Remington Art Museum. Each of these exhibitions presents significant work within various themes of the American West, including dramatic landscape photographs by Ansel Adams, challenging historic representations of the Plains Indians, and influential Western works by Frederic Remington. Together these exhibitions will present a multidimensional view of the American West, exploring multiple themes from a variety of eras, perspectives and artistic practices.
The Fenimore’s 2007 exhibitions will also provide a dynamic complement to the Museum’s exceptional holdings of American art. Located on the shores of legendary Otsego Lake, the Fenimore’s natural rural setting both enhances and enlivens the experience of exploring our nation’s rich artistic heritage. The rolling hills and idyllic farmlands that have changed little over the centuries were the inspiration behind and setting within which many of the pieces in the collections were created. The Fenimore’s location creates a seamless connection between its collections and the natural outdoor setting, and encourages visitors to reflect on how the country’s past has informed, and continues to inform, our society, values, and artistic expression.
Ansel Adams: The Man Who Captured the Earth's Beauty
April 1, 2007 – May 13, 2007
Featuring the work of one of the most celebrated photographers of the 20th century in the exhibition Ansel Adams: The Man Who Captured the Earth’s Beauty, the Fenimore Art Museum will showcase 25 black and white, richly detailed photographs capturing the beauty of the American West. Organized by the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, North Carolina, this exhibition includes such masterpieces as Monolith, The Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California; Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico; and Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park, California. Through Adam’s technical virtuosity and sensitive eye, these dramatic images remain profound reminders of his reverence for the beauty of the earth and the healing force of nature in our lives.
As a young mountaineer, Ansel Adams discovered the natural beauty of the Western landscape. He is perhaps among the last of the Romantic artists who view the great spaces of wilderness as a metaphor for freedom and heroic aspirations. Adams has sketched the outlines of a new pictorial understanding of the wild landscape, based on nature’s intimate details, unnoted cases, and ephemeral gestures.
The Mint Museum’s collection of Ansel Adams’ photographs was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Peter G. Scotese. The photographs in this exhibition were published by the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust in 1980 and 1981 from vintage negatives.
Myth & Reality: The Art of the Great Plains
April 1, 2007 – December 30, 2007
Organized by the Fenimore Art Museum, this exhibition dispels the myths of the “Plains Indians” and the American West contrived by artists, travelers, explorers, and Hollywood filmmakers. Featuring works from recognized Plains Indian artists showcasing a representation of their own culture and history, Myth & Reality: The Art of the Great Plains will explore a richer and more nuanced representation of Plains Indians life.
Traveling Wild West shows such as those conceived by Buffalo Bill Cody formed the basis for the notion of the “Plains Indian” that has survived to the present day. The Great Plains invoke images of warriors on horseback wearing feather headdresses, tipis, and buffalo hunts. However, most Plains Indians lived a semi-nomadic farming life on the wooded fringes of the Missouri River. With the introduction of horses by the Spanish during the seventeenth century, the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries marked a period of unprecedented change in the lives of the people on the Plains. Horses were regarded as powerful spirit beings and appeared in many Plains Indian arts, including carving, painting, and drawing. Women incorporated extensive and elaborate beadwork and quillwork into clothing and accessories. This exhibition will feature much of this artwork, and will unravel many myths surrounding the people and history of the Great Plains.
Treasures from the Frederic Remington Art Museum
May 26, 2007 – September 4, 2007
The Fenimore Art Museum’s showcase of Treasures from the Frederic Remington Art Museum features 22 original paintings and drawings and four original sculptures by famed Western landscape painter Frederic Remington. These works represent the exemplary skill and breadth of Remington’s work, and exemplify the exceptional holdings of American art at the Fenimore Art Museum.
Magazine and book illustrations made Remington a household name by the end of the nineteenth century, with his work appearing in such publications as Harper’s Weekly and Monthly, Boy’s Life and Cosmopolitan. In Remington’s forty-eight years, he produced over 3,000 signed paintings and drawings, 22 subjects in bronze, and articles and novels that comprised eight books. He made his name as an artist and illustrator of western subjects, and viewers are often surprised to learn that he was a New Yorker—he was born and buried in Canton, New York, and produced most of his work in his studio in New Rochelle.
Among the highlights of the exhibition is an 1885 watercolor, Sunday Morning Toilet on the Ranch, a fine example of Remington’s early devotion to the theme of cowboy ritual and camaraderie. The exhibition also features examples of Remington’s illustrations, including the 1888 oil on board One of the Boys, one of many works he produced for an important early commission to illustrate six stories of Theodore Roosevelt’s western exploits in The Century. This exhibition was organized by The Frederic Remington Art Museum in Ogdensburg, NY.
About Fenimore Art Museum
One of the nation’s premier art institutions, the Fenimore Art Museum is home to an exceptionally rich collection of American folk art and American Indian art as well as important holdings in American decorative arts, photography, and twentieth-century art. Founded in 1945 in Cooperstown, New York, the museum is part of the New York State Historical Association (NYSHA), founded in 1899. The museum’s renowned Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection, housed in the American Indian Wing, is a masterpiece collection of more than 800 art objects, representing a broad scope of North American cultures. The collections of folk and American art include seminal works by Grandma Moses, Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Cole, William Sidney Mount, Benjamin West, and John H. I. Browere. The museum offers a range of interactive educational programming for children, families, and adults, including lectures and workshops for museum visitors and distance learning instruction for classrooms nationwide. The museum further explores and examines our cultural history by organizing and hosting nationally touring art and history exhibitions, including Grandma Moses: Grandmother to the Nation; Treasures from Olana: The Landscapes of Frederic Edwin Church; A Deaf Artist in Early America: The Worlds of John Brewster, Jr.; Winslow Homer: Masterworks from the Adirondacks; and Ralph Fasanella’s America.
The Fenimore Art Museum is located on 5798 State Hwy. 80, Lake Road, in Cooperstown. The museum’s Fenimore Café, overlooking beautiful Otsego Lake, features wonderful views and a tranquil setting amid the terraced gardens. The Museum Shop offers fine jewelry, art reproductions, and a wide selection of publications on folk art, history, and Native American art. Museum admission is $11 for adults, $9.50 for visitors age 65 and over, and $5 for children age 7 to 12; children 6 and under and NYSHA members are admitted free. Reduced price combination admission tickets that include The Farmers’ Museum and The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum are also available. The museum is open from April 1 through December 30. For museum hours or general information, please call 1-888-547-1450 or visit www.fenimoreartmuseum.org.