Exhibition, Centennial

"Frederic Church: A Painter’s Pilgrimage"

Date: Fri, February 09, 2018 - Sun, May 13, 2018
Time: 9:30am - 4:30pm

Reynolda House Museum of American Art

Frederic Church: A Painter’s Pilgrimage, organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts, features more than fifty paintings and studies that Church completed during and after his 1867–1869 trip to the Near East, Rome, and Greece.  Church specialized in the production of dramatic, large-scale views of well-known but remote places which few members of his public had seen for themselves, such as The Andes of Ecuador in Reynolda’s collection, painted after a trip to South America in 1853.  Church was the first major American painter to visit either the Near East or Greece, and he had good reason to believe that his views of the area would be well received in the art market.

But Church had other, more private reasons for wanting to make this exotic trip.  Created in the aftermath of the Civil War, these paintings show Church turning his attention from nature to history, focusing on the rise and fall of civilizations as a way of dealing with loss that was both national and personal.  In his paintings of ancient cities and temples, we can see Church’s struggle to make sense of the tragedies of human life and history.  The power of these landscapes derives from their ability to express both awe at the apparently inhumane power of nature and a consoling faith in the presence of the divine.

Frederic Church: A Painter’s Pilgrimage has been organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts. Generous support has been provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Henry Luce Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. A significant loan of objects has been provided by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. 

Reynolda House is one of only three venues for the exhibition, which debuted at the Detroit Institute of Arts in the fall of 2017 where it was named one of the city's Best Museum Shows of 2017 by the Detroit Free Press.

The Museum will be open until 8 p.m. each Thursday during Frederic Church: A Painter's Pilgrimage


Good afternoon, I'm not clear on the dates of Churches paintings that will be exhibited in 2018.  You have shown the very one I am interested in which was prior to 1867, 1855.  Do you have the one shown and others before 1867 in your current exhibit. 

Hi Kathy, thanks for writing. Our painting shown above, "The Andes of Ecuador" (1855) is not a part of the exhibition "Frederic Church: A Painter's Pilgrimage" organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts. It is, however, on view in our Reception Hall most of the time -- so you can stop by anytime to see it! We can't say exactly what works will be shown in our Spring 2018 exhibition, as the details are currently being finalized, but we can say that we will be exhibiting over 40 works of Church's, including several large scale panoramas and accompanying studies with an emphasis on his travels to the Near East and Greece. Stay tuned to our website for more details as well as Detroit's at dia.org.

We hope to see you then, if not before! :)

I'm employee at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.  Will I be allowed free admission to this exhibit with a guest?

Hi Craig, thanks for writing! Your WFUBMC ID will get you and one guest in for free for the exhibition and historic house. We look forward to seeing you! :)

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