Crystal Bridges to partner with The Louvre, High Museum of Art, Terra Foundation of American Art

Photo by Dwight Primiano
Thomas Cole, “The Good Shepherd,” 1848, oil on canvas, 32 x 48 inches. Courtesy Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas.

As if it weren’t enough that there is an enormous collection of American Art available at Crystal Bridges, last week we learned that more world class art will soon be on display just up the road.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Paris’ Musée du Louvre, Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, and Chicago-based Terra Foundation of American Art announced a four-year initiative for an annual traveling art exhibition that will make a stop in Bentonville next spring.

The exhibits will explore the birth of American landscape painting through the works of Thomas Cole and Asher B. Durand. The installation will also include an earlier painting by Pierre-Antoine Patel the Younger, which inspired Cole’s work after the artist saw it in Paris.

Each institution will contribute work to the exhibit, with the first installation set to premier at the Louvre in January 2012 during a day-long symposium on the history of American art collections in the United States and Europe.

“For the past several years, the Louvre has been revitalizing its interest in American art,” said Henri Loyrette, president and director of the Louvre. “We have partnered with various institutions to organize exhibitions and conferences about American art and will continue to do so as we strive to build our own collection in this area. This project is a natural extension of our previous collaborations with the High and the Terra, and responds to a great demand for seeing and studying American art in France.”

Following its premiere in Paris, the works will travel to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art from May 12 to Aug. 13, and to the High Museum in Atlanta, Ga. from September through January 2013. The organizing themes of future installations and their tour schedules will be announced at a later date.

“As the newest museum devoted to the study and presentation of American art, we are a natural partner in this collaboration,” said Don Bacigalupi, director of Crystal Bridges. “We are excited to share works from our collection and spread awareness about American art history worldwide.”

At each of the museums the works will be displayed within their permanent collections galleries to add new dimension and nuance to the museums’ own holdings. The six paintings in the inaugural installation, titled “New Frontier: Thomas Cole and the Birth of Landscape Painting in America,” at the Louvre and “American Encounters: Thomas Cole and the Narrative Landscape” at the two American venues, include:

  • Thomas Cole, The Cross in Wilderness, 1845 (Louvre)
  • Thomas Cole, Landscape with Figures: A Scene from ‘The Last of the Mohicans’, 1826 (Terra Foundation)
  • Thomas Cole, The Good Shepherd, 1848 (Crystal Bridges)
  • Thomas Cole, The Tempest, 1826 (High)
  • Asher B. Durand, View near Rutland, Vermont, 1837 (High)
  • Pierre-Antoine Patel the Younger, The Summer, 1699 (Louvre)