Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, French, 1796-1875, Landscape in Italy, ca.1865, Etching on paper, Framed: 35.2425 x 41.5925 cm, Image: 15.7163 x 25.2413 cm, Sheet: 28.4163 x 38.4175 cm, Gift of Kathrin and Lester Goldman.
Camille Pissarro, French, 1830-1903, Wooded Landscape at L'Hermitage, Pontoise, 1879, Soft-ground etching, aquatint, and drypoint, Image: 21.75 x 26.67 cm, Mat: 35.56 x 48.26 cm, Purchase: Nelson Gallery Foundation.
Liu Guosong, Chinese, b. 1931, High Landscape II, 20th century, Hanging scroll, ink on paper, Image: 130.81 x 75.88 cm, Mount: 5176.53 x 81.92 cm, Purchase: acquired through the Paulina and Robert Everitt Fund.
Ikeno Taiga, Japanese, 1723-1776, Impressive View of the Go River, 1769, Hanging scroll: ink on paper, Image: 129.86 x 56.83 cm, Mount: 201.93 x 72.39 cm, Gift of William L. Evans Jr.
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
4525 Oak Street
Landscapes East/Landscapes West: Representing Nature from Mount Fuji to Canyon de Chelly
August 27, 2011-February 26, 2012
Artists have long been inspired to capture the beauty of nature in two-dimensional images, and Landscapes East/Landscapes West: Representing Nature from Mount Fuji to Canyon de Chelly explores the ways artists have responded to this universal theme. A collaboration among six curatorial departments at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the exhibition juxtaposes landscape paintings, drawings, prints and photographs by Chinese, Japanese, European and American artists from the 15th century to the present.
“It’s important to remember that in the light of our pressing concerns about the environment, landscape, and how humans interact with it is hugely relevant to us today,” said Colin Mackenzie, Senior curator, Early Chinese Art. “It is not just about the past, it is about the present and the future.”
From early times in China, spiritual communion with the natural world inspired artists to master the techniques of landscape painting, termed in Chinese shanshui, “mountain and water.” By the end of the 10th century, landscape had become the backbone of Chinese painting, a role it continues to play today. Interest in landscape arose later in the West, where it was first used as a background for figures, often in Biblical settings. In 17th century Europe, however, landscape painting emerged as a distinct genre, and by the 1800s, it came to rival figure painting in importance. During the middle of the 19th century photography, especially in America, embraced landscape as a central theme. Today, as environmental concerns become ever more pressing, nature has been reaffirmed as a universally relevant and enduring source of artistic inspiration.
“We hope that visitors to the exhibition will sense the palpable spirituality that imbues many of these sublime images,” said MacKenzie. “The vastness of nature and the insignificance of the figures so vividly depicted here remind us of a grander, universal scheme of creation of which humankind is merely one part.”
The exhibition includes representative works by revered artists of the past such as Shen Zhou, Claude Gellee, and Katushika Hokusai, as well as more recent ones such as Thomas Hart Benton, Ansel Easton Adams and Hiroshi Sugimoto.
Winter Mountains, Late 11th-early 12th century, Chinese, Hanging scroll, ink on silk, ivory roller, 144.46 x 92.39 cm, Gift of John M. Crawford Jr. in honor of Laurence Sickman.
Qiu Ying, Chinese, 1494-1552, Fisherman's Flute Heard Over the Lake, ca. 1547, Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, Image: 159.7 x 84.14 cm, Mount: 280.67 x 88.9 cm, Gift of John M. Crawford Jr. in honor of the Fiftieth, Anniversary of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Osamu James Nakagawa, American, b. 1962, Okinawa 001, 2008, Pigment print, mounted on aluminum, Sheet: 5 feet x 20 inches (152.4 x 50.8 cm) Mount: 168.91 x 50.8 cm. Gift of the Hall Family Foundation.