Terra Collection Initiative: Through American Eyes: Frederic Church and the Landscape Oil Sketch

Organized jointly by the National Gallery and the Terra Foundation for American Art, the exhibition Through American Eyes: Frederic Church and the Landscape Oil Sketch featured more than thirty fresh, spontaneous oil sketches by Frederic Church (1826–1900), considered by many to be the greatest American advocate of the landscape oil sketch. Regarded as one of the most ambitious of the Hudson River School landscape painters, Church had a voracious appetite for travel to distant locations as revealed in the sketches in the exhibition, produced in Ecuador, Jordan, Jamaica, Germany, and the waters off Labrador, where he studied icebergs. The exhibition also included works executed closer to Church’s home, Olana, on the Hudson in Upstate New York. +

This exhibition was the first opportunity to examine Church’s oil sketch achievement in depth in the United Kingdom. The show included two works from the Terra Foundation as well as important loans from the Olana State Historic Site and the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York. These sketches inspired the monumental landscape paintings Church produced in his studio upon his return. One of these works, Niagara Falls, from the American Side (1867), on loan from the National Galleries of Scotland, was included in the exhibition to illustrate the journey from sketch to completed oil painting. An unprecedented look at Church’s process, Through American Eyes introduced Great Britain’s museum-goers to the work of this significant American painter.

The exhibition followed the 2011 Terra Collection Initiative exhibition, An American Experiment: George Bellows and the Ashcan Painters.


Dates & Venues

February 6–April 28, 2013
The National Gallery, London, United Kingdom

May 11–September 8, 2013
Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

Works of Art from the Terra Foundation Collection


Wilton, Andrew. Frederic Church and the Landscape Oil Sketch. London, National Gallery. Distributed by Yale University Press, 2013.

Related Content

Press release: Through American Eyes: Frederic Church and the Landscape Oil Sketch, the National Gallery, London

Podcast: “The National Gallery Podcast: Episode Seventy Seven,” conversation with Katherine Bourguignon, Curator, Terra Foundation for American Art

More Terra Collection Initiatives