In today’s world, an eye-catching photo with a witty or interesting caption paired with an effective use of content-related hashtags is all it takes for a person or place to start trending across social media platforms. Reflecting on the past, it is astonishing that areas throughout the Northeast region were transformed into popular tourist destinations not by sharing a link or liking a picture, but rather by the power of the painted landscape and word of mouth. Opening this weekend at the Historical Society of Cheshire County, Canvassing the White Mountains: Icons of Place explores how Hudson River School painters were instrumental in promoting the natural beauty of the American landscape. Forty-seven scenes of the White Mountains and the Monadnock region are included in this exhibition, showcasing how American landscape painters including Benjamin Champney, Alfred Thompson Bricher, and Asher B. Durand were among New Hampshire’s first marketing agents.
“The exhibit will share how the painting styles of these artists illustrate not only the evolution of American art, but also how they helped to shape the American view of and reaction to wilderness and nature,” explained executive director Alan Rumrill, “[it demonstrates] how the work of the artists impacted the growth and development of the White Mountain region.” The paintings on view reflect the romanticism and sublime beauty characteristic of the Hudson River School, and also highlight how our nation’s early landscape painters helped form a national appreciation for the wild, untamed beauty of the American terrain. Open through September 12, 2014, Canvassing the White Mountains: Icons of Place offers the opportunity to visit the surrounding landscape of the Monadnock region, as well as an invitation to indulge in American art!