Vase of Flowers (ca. 1720)
Jan van Huysum
Oil on wood panel
"The 17th-century Dutch were horticultural leaders who introduced Europe to many new species of flowers from their Caribbean and Far Eastern colonies. Huysum gained an international reputation for the technical skill and detailed realism in his sumptuous arrangements of exotic as well as more common specimens. Included here are two rare specimens of tulip (top, left of center), a popular flower originally imported from Constantinople. In the famous market craze of 1637, dubbed Tulipmania, one tulip bulb in Amsterdam was worth the price of a house on a coveted canal lot. The market crashed in 1638, but tulips were still much prized when Huysum painted these blooms a century later."
Landscape, Welch Mountain (1863)
Asher B. Durand
Oil on canvas
Asher B. Durand evoked the philosophical idea of the Beautiful in the harmony, serenity and loveliness of this pastoral landscape of Welch Mountain, New Hampshire. He achieved these qualities by depicting the foreground with a fine brush to give remarkable detail, rendering the middle ground more sketchily and incorporating a number of flat, broadly painted areas of soft lavenders and blues in the background. Bright light and shadow play across the entire view, which is enveloped in a hazy atmosphere.
A successful engraver, Durand did not turn to painting as a career until he was 40. After Thomas Cole's death in 1848, he became the acknowledged leader of the group of American landscape painters commonly called the Hudson River School.