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View of the Hudson River Valley from Olana

Fredric Edwin Church (1826–1900), View of the Hudson River Valley from Olana, 1867, oil on canvas, 12 1/4 x 20 3/8 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Herald R. Clark.


In his extensive travels, Church sought awe-inspiring vistas to paint. He concluded that America, the “New World,” had the most beautiful views he had seen. Here the sunset’s brilliant colors appear to depict a primeval nature, untouched by human hands. Church found this idyllic scene in the view from Olana, his uniquely beautiful, castle-like home overlooking the Hudson River, which was in a very real way his personal Garden of Eden. The artist used European painting conventions of framing trees, waterway, and distant mountains to capture the beauty of his native land.

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