From Dutch Traders to Yankee Merchants

Barry Lewis
Sun, 11/24/2013 - 17:00
Sun, November 24th, 2013 | 5:00 pm

Note: This program is sold out



Join Barry Lewis on a journey through New Amsterdam/New York in the first 200 years of its existence, when “uptown” meant Washington Square, Downtown meant both the “counting houses” of South Street as well as the corporate headquarters on Wall, and when street systems and living patterns were first laid down for the future city we know today.

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Clarice Smith: Recollections of a Life in Art

November 08, 2013
February 09, 2014

Clarice Smith: Recollections of a Life in Art is a retrospective of this distinguished contemporary painter’s signature subjects. Clarice Smith's work moves easily among diverse subjects, among them The Garden, Florals, Still Life, Landscapes, Equines, Screens, and Figures, each with its own rich visual traditions. Drawing upon her deep knowledge of art history, as well as a keen eye for the directly observed, the artist produces immensely fulfilling paintings that gratify the eye and also stimulate reflection.

Clarice Smith, Floral (Orange and White Lilies in Glass Vases), 1985. Oil on canvas. Private collection

Works have been selected to present a concentrated, yet complete, overview of Smith’s signature subjects, as well as the evolution of her artistic vision over more than three and a half decades. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated publication, featuring an essay by eminent writer and art historian Avis Berman based upon extended interviews with the artist. The exhibition will also feature an audio tour on the same format, which will allow visitors to listen to Clarice Smith discussing her own works.

From Colony to Nation: 200 Years of American Painting at the New-York Historical Society

June 07, 2013
September 08, 2013

This exhibition of American art, drawn from the New-York Historical Society's venerable collections, presents a chronological and thematic survey of masterworks ranging in date from 1720 to 1917. Included are Colonial, Federal, and Gilded Age portraits; Hudson River School landscapes; marine and maritime paintings, with a focus on works inspired by the War of 1812; and genre, history, and narrative subjects.

Thomas Buttersworth (English, 1758-1842), Escape of H.M.S. Belvidera from the U.S. Frigate President, ca. 1815, Oil on canvas, 16 x 22 in. (40.6 x 55.9 cm), Bequest of Irving S. Olds, 1963.58

Woven throughout the installation are a medley of artist portraits that traces American masters from Benjamin West’s London studio to the mid-nineteenth century ateliers of New York. Highlights include works by Gerardus Duyckinck, Charles Willson Peale, Gilbert Stuart, Benjamin West, Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Thomas Birch, Thomas Buttersworth, William Sidney Mount, John F. Kensett, John Singer Sargent and Childe Hassam.

Making American Taste: Gallery Tour 2

Linda S. Ferber
Mon, 12/19/2011 - 11:00
Mon, December 19th, 2011 | 11:00 am

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In the nineteenth century, the place of the arts in a democracy was a hotly debated topic in the United States. The new exhibition Making American Taste: Narrative Art for a New Democracy integrates the broad range of styles and narrative themes — from history, literary and religious subjects to the more familiar rural and domestic genres — through which Americans were expected to attain cultural refinement. Join Senior Art Historian Linda S.

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The Luce Center

The Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture on our fourth floor will be closed for renovations through December 2016. Please check back in the fall for details of our exciting new galleries and installations.
The Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture on the fourth floor provides public access to nearly 40,000 objects from the New-York Historical Society’s permanent collection. In the Luce Center, visitors can see art and artifacts spanning four centuries, ranging from masterworks of American painting, to the nation’s premiere collection of Tiffany lamps, to historical touchstones such as the draft wheel that played a role in one of the worst urban riots in United States history. 

The Luce Center houses collections formerly kept in offsite storage. It offers a behind-the-scenes look at a working museum collection. In addition to a rich array of objects, small focus exhibitions highlight specific strengths of the collection and offer a historical context for current cultural, economic, political and social issues. Free handheld guides and cell phone tours allow visitors to hear the stories behind the objects on view.

Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School

September 21, 2012
February 20, 2013

Please note the closing date has been changed from February 21
After a national tour, the forty-five iconic works, including Thomas Cole’s five-part series The Course of Empire and other masterworks by Cole, John F. Kensett, Albert Bierstadt, Jasper F. Cropsey, Asher B. Durand and others will once again be on display at the New-York Historical Society. This exhibition showcases the extraordinary depth and richness of the New-York Historical Society’s landscape collections, especially paintings by artists of the Hudson River School. Rising to eminence in New York during the mid-nineteenth century, this loosely knit group of artists, together with like-minded poets and writers, forged a self-consciously “American” landscape vision and literary voice. Both were grounded in the exploration of the natural world as a resource for spiritual renewal and as an expression of cultural and national identity. 

Thomas Cole (1801–1848), Catskill Creek, NY, 1845. Oil on canvas. New-York Historical Society, The Robert L. Stuart Collection, S-157

The Hudson River and the natural wonders along its banks had a long history of associations with earlier inhabitants, including Native Americans, the Dutch, and the British. Key battles of the American Revolution were fought along the river’s course. Such historical associations amid the evocative terrain of the Catskills, Adirondacks, and White Mountains enriched regional sites throughout the Hudson River Valley and New England, inspiring homegrown schools of painting and literature grounded in their scenery and history. After 1850 Hudson River School artists also sought inspiration further from home, enlisting their artistic vision the Arctic, and the Andes.

The paintings in the exhibition are organized around themes that illuminate the sites that drew both artists and travelers. Other themes investigate landscape imagery as a powerful narrative device that embodied ideas about nature and culture.

Related Press:

The Epoch TimesHudson River School Exhibit: Timeless Virtues of the 19th Century
Behind the Scenes: The Hudson River School and the Idea of Recreation
WBAI: Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School

The Hudson River to Niagara Falls: Nineteenth-century American Landscape Paintings from the New-York Historical Society

Drawn from the treasures of the New-York Historical Society’s permanent collection, Hudson River Masterpieces showcases nineteenth-century landscape paintings by the artists of the Hudson River School. The exhibition includes celebrated works by Thomas Cole and Asher B. Durand, founders of the American landscape school. Other featured artists include: John Frederick Kensett, Jasper Francis Cropsey, Francis Augustus Silva, Sanford Robinson Gifford, John W. Casilear, Jervis McEntee, William T. Richards and William L. Sonntag.

Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823-1900), Greenwood Lake, New Jersey, 1871. Oil on canvas. New-York Historical Society, The Robert L. Stuart Collection, S-156

Tour Schedule

Venue Dates
The Phillips Museum of Art (Lancaster, PA) September 13, 2013 – December 15, 2013




A richly illustrated survey of the New-York Historical Society's landscape collection, The Hudson River School: Nature and the American Vision (2009), accompanies this exhibition.

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The American Landscapes of Asher B. Durand (1796 – 1886)

The American Landscapes of Asher B. Durand, featuring over 100 works including paintings, drawings, engravings, and daguerreotypes, recreates Durand’s milieu by displaying his own works in the context of those by, or portraying, his circle of fellow artists, writers, and patrons. Asher Brown Durand (1796-1886) was one of the most important American artists of the 19th century. He was a central figure as an artist, as a founder of art institutions, and as the acknowledged leader of the American landscape school from his election as president of the National Academy of Design in 1845 until his death at the age of 90. Durand’s six-decade career began with the earliest efforts of the American artists, writers and patrons to construct a national cultural identity. Durand participated from the very beginning: first as a master banknote and reproductive engraver; then as a portrait painter recording the features of founding fathers as well as the mercantile and cultural elite of antebellum New York before turning to landscape painting.

Asher Brown Durand (1796-1886), The Solitary Oak (The Old Oak), 1844. Oil on canvas. New-York Historical Society, Gift of The New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts, 1858.75

 Tour Schedule

Venue Dates
Fundaciόn Juan March (Madrid, Spain) October 1, 2010–January 9, 2011

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Drawings >


One of the jewels in the Museum’s crown is its drawing collection, numbering over 8,000 sheets. Collected since 1816, this distinctive trove is the country’s earliest public drawing collection. It is also one of the finest, whose strength resides in its unparalleled late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century material to furnish a comprehensive survey of American art from its inception, dominated by European artists, up through the 1860s, by which time native-born artists had asserted an American identity.

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