story and photos by Cyd King
BENTONVILLE — Some of the biggest players in the art world gathered at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Saturday (May 12) to celebrate the American debut of a new and important traveling exhibit, American Encounters: Thomas Cole and the Narrative Landscape.
Guests enjoyed an early evening reception on Walker Landing, then moved on the museum’s Eleven restaurant for dinner.
Late last year, the four entities announced the launch of a four-year collaboration to produce programming and yearly installations of American and European Art. Curators from each of the partnering institutions have been working together to shape the themes and installations, and works will be drawn from the collections of all four institutions.
The first installation examines the birth of American landscape painting though the works of Thomas Cole and Asher B. Durand, premiered at the Louvre in January before traveling to the other collaborating museums. Besides Cole and Durand, the installation includes an earlier painting by Pierre-Antoine Patel the Younger which inspired Cole's work after the artist saw it in Paris.
The six works in the traveling exhibit will be displayed within each of the museum’s permanent collections galleries. At the Louvre, the installation is titled New Frontier: Thomas Cole and the Birth of Landscape Painting in America; at Crystal Bridges and at High, the exhibit is titled American Encounters: Thomas Cole and the Narrative Landscape.
For the exhibit, the Louvre loaned Cole’s “The Cross in the Wilderness and Pierre-Antoine Patel the Younger’s “The Summer.” Crystal Bridges offered Cole’s “The Good Shepherd,” and High contributed with Cole’s “The Tempest” and Durand’s “View near Rutland, Vermont.” The Terra Foundation made available Cole’s “Landscape with Figures: A Scene from ‘The Last of the Mohicans’.”
The works can be seen at no extra charge at Crystal Bridges through Aug. 13 before the exhibit moves on to High.