Art exhibitions highlight beauty of White Mountains

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — If you want to see White Mountain art, now is the time to head to New Hampshire.

Inspired by the state’s famous mountain range, the art dates back to the 18th century and includes landscape paintings by the likes of Benjamin Champney and Winslow Homer. The work they produced helped make the White Mountains a symbol of the American landscape and complemented similar developments among painters of the Hudson River School. Many of those of artists drew on their time in the White Mountains to inform their work on New York’s landscapes.

On Friday, the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord opened a long-running exhibit that features White Mountain art from its collection. That followed an exhibition at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester that opened Oct. 1 and runs through Jan. 16. It focuses on art inspired by Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast and part of the White Mountains.

The exhibit at the historical society includes 36 paintings from artists including Champney, Albert Bierstadt, Edward Hill and Thomas Hill. Following on the heels of wealthy tourists, these artists trekked across the notches, rivers and meadows of the White Mountains. Many would make detailed sketches — inspired by the changing light and natural beauty of the mountains — and head back to their city studios to complete their paintings.

Among the highlights of the exhibition are the 1857 painting “In the Notch” by John White Allen Scott. It features a series of peaks bathed in green. Another painting, “Woodland Scene in the Notch,” by Edward Hill, features a man along a meandering river.

The exhibit at the Currier Museum is billed as the first museum exhibition devoted entirely to art featuring the Mount Washington region. It includes paintings by several Hudson River School artists, including Bierstadt, Thomas Cole, Jasper Francis Cropsey, John Frederick Kensett and David Johnson, as well as Homer and George Inness.

The exhibit also features prints, vintage photographs and illustrated guidebooks from the late 1820s through the 1870s.

By Patricia Older

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