American Beauty and Bountyby Matthew Innis |
Judith and Steaven Jones began to acquire 19th-century American paintings in the late 1970s. This collection has grown to include 29 works that the Joneses will ultimately gift to the Crocker. Many are by Hudson River School painters, who focused on the landscape and pursued a highly polished, detailed technique. Key artists include first-generation practitioners Asher B. Durand and Thomas Doughty, as well as important landscape painters of the second generation, including Albert Bierstadt, Sanford Gifford, John Kensett, and Worthington Whittredge. The collection also includes meticulously rendered still-life paintings by artists such as Severin Roesen and William Michael Harnett, as well as scenes of American daily life by Eastman Johnson, Enoch Wood Perry, and others. Collectively, these paintings communicate a spirit of American optimism, of transcendental wonderment in nature, of national abundance, and of nostalgia for ways of life that, even as the scenes were being painted, seemed already to be passing.