New York

Frederic Church

Cooper Union Museum

The exhibition of Frederic Church (1826–1900) is hard for me to judge, because I’m afraid I went to it with exaggerated expectations—not from Cole, but from the Cooper Union Museum. Certainly the show does not represent a fraction of the range and depth of the Museum’s collection of Church, and that isn’t because it is small: Church is not a complex artist, and his work can be adequately represented by only a few examples, if they are chosen with intelligence and care. What was shown were all oil or pencil sketches, however, and at least that is interesting. Church was the only pupil Cole ever had, and one can see from this fact alone how wholeheartedly he embraced Cole’s esthetic—he is not likely to have sought out so reclusive and difficult a teacher if he did not. But for a person with his attitudes, Church came at an awkward time. The literary approach to landscape was going the way

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