There’s a tendency to think of landscape painting as primarily a summer activity, or at least one of diminished interest in the Winter, both because of the inconvenience of painting in the cold, and the expectation of less color in the winter landscape.
Quite to the contrary, many painters and illustrators found great subjects in winter’s different range of colors and subjects, and some took particular delight in images of winter; and illustrators of course have a long tradition of portraying the Christmas holiday.
For those in the area of southeastern Pennsylvania, there is a small but delightful show at the Brandywine River Museum of works from the permanent collection showcasing winter scenes and images of Christmas, that runs until january 11, 2009.
The show includes prints by cartoonist Thomas Nast, who was in many was responsible for the image of St. Nicholas as a bearded, pipe smoking fellow with a sack of toys over his shoulder; as well as N.C. Wyeth’s colorful take on Kris Kringle (above, left) which owes more to J.C. Leyendecker’s interpretation of the Jolly One (see my post on Illustrators Visions of Santa Claus).
N.C. Wyeth is nicely represented by several of his lesser known landscape paintings, and these are complimented by large, infrequently seen works in the Brandywine’s collection by Pennsylvania Impressionists Elmer Schofield and Edward Redfield.
The show’s mix of illustration and gallery art includes prints by Winslow Homer and paintings by Ashcan School painter Everett Shinn, as well as illustrations by F.O.C. Darley, Frank X. Leyendecker (J.C. Leyendecker’s underappreciated brother), Maxfield Parrish and Jessie Wilcox Smith.
Visitors to the museum can supplement their enjoyment of the show’s theme with other relevant pieces on view in other galleries, like Howard Pyle’s wintertime historical illustrations, N.C. Wyeth’s beautiful winter-themed illustrations for The Black Arrow (above, right) and son Andrew Wyeth’s winter scenes of the Brandywine Valley.
For those not in the area, you might follow some of the links above, as well as looking into paintings by American artists who loved to paint in winter, like Edward Redfield and Fern Coppage (see my post on Fern Coppedge and George Gardner Symons, as well as my recent post on John F. Carlson).