Faced with the vibrant autumn colours carefully transcribed by Jasper Francis Cropsey, a follower of the Hudson River School, in his “Autumn—on the Hudson River”, Queen Victoria flatly refused to believe it had been painted from nature. The artist’s integrity was reaffirmed when he sent her specimens of foliage. Contemporary viewers, more widely travelled, will presumably not stumble at this sort of thing however astonishing the colour and light of the landscapes are as, for example, in Sanford Gifford’s stunning “A coming storm on Lake George”, 1866 (below). This is Tate Britain’s big show of the season (21 February-19 May), curated by Andrew Wilton, Keeper and Senior Research Fellow at the museum, and sponsored by the Henry Luce Foundation with support from GlaxoSmithKline.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'American sublime: landscape painting in the US, 1820-80'