New York

The American Scene

Hirschl & Adler Galleries

“The American Scene” affords a very good example of how badly the presentation and the understanding of art can suffer when the market goes crazy. Subtitled, very impressively, “A Survey of the Life and Landscape of the 19th Century,” it is not a survey at all, just a miscellany from a dealer’s stock, and while it includes several decent things, only one or two are really outstanding.

The rest are poor, and it is alarming to consider the assiduity with which reputations like that of Roesen are being promoted (for myself, I was thankful not to find anything by Bunker in the show!). Since it is in no way a survey of 19th-century American painting, and since it makes no points at all as an ensemble, there is no way to review it beyond noting the few good things it includes. These are: a Colombian scene by Church, which was very prosaic, as Church often is when he need not be, and which raises

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