Thomas Cole and Ed Ruscha: Two Prophecies of American Decay

An earlier post on this blog - The Hudson  River School-  explains the importance of Thomas Cole as the leading light of the Hudson River School and outlines his critical stance towards what he regarded as the wanton destruction of the American landscape by greedy speculators.  Two related exhibitions currently on display at London’s National … Continue reading Thomas Cole and Ed Ruscha: Two Prophecies of American Decay

Hidden in Havana

In Niagara: Two Centuries of Changing Attitudes, 1697-1901 (the catalogue that accompanied the Corcoran Gallery 1985 exhibition surveying historical artistic responses to Niagara Falls),  art historian Jeremy Elwell Adamson tells us that Regis painted four wintertime Niagaras.  He explains that the most famous of these, and one of the most popular paintings of the Falls … Continue reading Hidden in Havana

Nature’s Grandest Scene in Art

From 1760-1900 Niagara Falls was the most frequently described and depicted natural wonder in North America, appearing not only in paintings and engravings, but also in more unusual contexts, such as on dinnerware, wallpaper, sheet music and lamp shades.  Although they were a spectacular sight, the falls' overwhelming popularity can be explained by the way … Continue reading Nature’s Grandest Scene in Art

Sacred Places

Of the five places that we have decided to visit for Human Accumulations, four are to some extent protected by conservation laws.  The immediate area around Niagara Falls on the American side is a State Park, founded in 1885, deemed to be the oldest in the USA. Part of the White Mountain region was designated … Continue reading Sacred Places

The Hudson River School

The Hudson River School was an American school of landscape painting that achieved its peak period of popularity in the years from 1830-1870.  The name of the movement refers to the artists’ preferred subject: the Hudson River Valley in New York State and the surrounding area, including the Catskill, Adirondack and White Mountains.  The second … Continue reading The Hudson River School

Regis Gignoux – The Early Years

Marie-Francois Regis Gignoux was born in 1814 in Lyon, the youngest of the eight children of Swiss trader Jean-Antoine Gignoux and Gabrielle Ribollet. His granddaughter, the Marquese Bertha d’Oncieu, remembered being told that when Regis was a boy “his copybooks were full of drawings” and despite family reservations, he embarked on an art education, first … Continue reading Regis Gignoux – The Early Years

“Human Accumulations”

Our project takes its title from a quotation from H. G. Wells, the renowned English writer.  When the father of science fiction visited Niagara Falls, foremost symbol of the New World’s limitless potential, he commented, “the real interest of Niagara Falls for me was not in the waterfall but the human accumulations about it for … Continue reading “Human Accumulations”

Welcome to Human Accumulations

  The idea for Human Accumulations arose when photographer Alan Gignoux and I reviewed photographs of his documenting the environmental and social effects of mountaintop-removal coal mining in western Virginia. I was struck by the irony that the framing and composition of some of his images of the scarred mountains of Appalachia reminded me of … Continue reading Welcome to Human Accumulations