Imagining Landscapes

Thomas moran, the chasm of the colorado


Thomas Moran, The chasm of the Colorado, 1873-4
Oil on canvas, 214.4 x 367.7 cm
National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
Lent by the U.S. Dept of the Interior, Washington, D.C.

Mountains are to the rest of the body of the earth, what violent muscular action is to the body of man. The muscles and tendons of its anatomy are, in the mountain, brought out with fierce and convulsive energy ... But there is this difference between the action of the earth, and that of a living creature, that while the exerted limb marks its bones and tendon through the flesh, the excited earth casts off the flesh altogether, and its bones come out from beneath.

John Ruskin, 1843

Augustus vincent tack, aspiration


Augustus Vincent Tack, Aspiration, c.1931
Oil on canvas, 194.3 x 344.2 cm
The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

Valley ... walled in by an amphitheatre of mountains as colossal as to seem an adequate selling for the Last Judgement, glacial lakes lay like jewels on the breast of the world – malachite and jadegreens of every variation. Battlements and pinnacles of rock close to the clouds and on the mountain slopes great white glaciers seem motionless and slumbering, but terrible in their potentialities.

Augustus Vincent Tack, 1920

Winslow homer, northeaster


Winslow Homer, Northeaster, 1895
Oil on canvas, 87.6 x 127.6 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Gift of George A. Hearn, 1910

If you have lived by the sea, you have learned the significance of the bravery of sea people, and you learn to understand and excuse the sharpness of them which is given them from battle with the elemental facts they are confronted with at all times. That is the character of Homer, that is the quality of his painting.

Marsden Hartley, 1921

The best emblem of unwearied, unconquerable power, the wild, various, fantastic, tame less unity of the sea; what shall we compare to this mighty, this universal element, for glory and for beauty? Or how shall we follow its eternal changefulness of feeling? It is like trying to paint a soul.

John Ruskin, 1843

Marsden hartley, evening storm, schoodic maine


Marsden Hanley, Evening storm, Schoodic Maine, 1942
Oil on composition board, 76.2 x 101.6 cm
Collection, Museum of Modern Art, New York
Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest

I have made the complete return to nature, and nature is, as we all know, primarily an intellectual idea. I am satisfied that painting also is, like nature, an intellectual idea, and that the laws of nature a presented to the mind through the eye – and the eye is the painter's first and last vehicle – are the mean of transport to the real mode of thought; the only legitimate source of aesthetic experience for the intelligent painter ...

Marsden Hanley, 1928

Clyfford still, 1954


Clyfford Still, 1954, 1954
Oil on canvas, 288.3 x 396.2 cm
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo
Gift of Seymour H. Knox, 1957

I'm not interested in illustrating my time ... Our age – it is of science – of mechanism – of power and death. I see no virtue in adding to its mammoth arrogance the compliment of graphic homage.

Clyfford Still, 1963

Georgia o'keefe, orange and red streak


Georgia O'Keeffe, Orange and red streak, 1919
Oil on canvas, 69.2 x 59.1 cm
Collection Doris Bry, New York, for Georgia O'Keeffe

I lived on the plains of North Texas for four years ... That was my country – terrible winds and a wonderful emptiness.

Georgia O'Keeffe, 1970

Another Georgia O'Keeffe landscape and quotation appears on the Contents page.

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