Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Hudson River School | Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Thomas Cole’s Journey from the Global Stage to the Catskills: A Revisionist Approach Dr. Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser will reveal the many insights gained from her recent exhibition Thomas Cole’s Journey: Atlantic Crossings, on view in 2018 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery, London, including a discussion of the exhibition’s critical reception. The exhibition focuses on the artist’s British roots (Cole spent the first seventeen years of his life in industrial Northern England), his arrival in the United States in 1818, and his later global travels from 1829 to 1832, when he engaged with such contemporary British artists as J.M.W. Turner and John Constable, studied the old masters, embraced the plein air oil study, and contemplated the ancient history of Rome. These global experiences led to Cole’s most iconic American landscape paintings, the five-part historical cycle The Course of Empire, 1834-36 and View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm — the Oxbow, 1836. The exhibition presents Cole as an artist working on the global stage, and for the first time, shows Cole’s paintings alongside those by Claude, Turner and Constable; artists that greatly influenced him. The exhibition reveals the artist’s strong proto-environmental sentiments in his writings and paintings at the very moment that President Andrew Jackson was implementing an expansionist vision for the United States that threatened the wilderness lands. Finally, Cole’s role in launching the first national school of landscape painting in America, later called the Hudson River school, is re-accessed.
Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Mankin Kornhauser has served as the Alice Pratt Brown Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture at The Metropolitan Museum of Art since 2010. Professional highlights of her tenure there include completing work on the new American Paintings and Sculpture galleries, which opened in 2012. Most recently, she co-curated the major exhibition: Thomas Cole’s Journey: Atlantic Crossings, which opened at the Met and the National Gallery, London in 2018. Additional exhibitions she has also co-curated at the Met include: Rediscovering Thomas Hart Benton’s “America Today” Murals (2014); Navigating the West: George Caleb Bingham and the River (2015); and John Singer Sargent’s Portraits of the Arts: Artists, Writers, Actors, and Musicians (2015). Prior to joining the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dr. Kornhauser served as the Chief Curator, and Krieble Curator of American Painting and Sculpture at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut from 1997 to 2010. Her tenure there was distinguished by the preparation of numerous special traveling exhibitions and catalogues. Dr. Kornhauser received her Ph.D. from Boston University with a specialty in American paintings and her M.A. from the Cooperstown Graduate Program in American Folk Art and Culture.