That title is taken from a letter from Abigail Adams to husband John in 1776, in which she wrote: “I desire you would Remember the Ladies…if particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion.” Though no particular fomenting has occurred in the past century over the omission, Krieger and Siegel, deciding that it’s high time, have mounted the first known exhibition in the United States to feature such a collection.
“Remember the Ladies” includes paintings, embroidered landscapes, photographs and drawing manuals by artists including Julia Hart Beers (sister to William and James Hart), Evelina Mount (niece to William Sidney Mount), Susie Barstow, Eliza Greatorex, Harriet Cany Peale and Josephine Walters, among others. Also included are paintings by Thomas Cole’s sister Sarah Cole and daughter Emily Cole, and soon a piece by Fidelia Bridges will be added.
By the turn of the 19th century, schools, seminaries and private instructors were already providing artistic education for young women, particularly in the art of landscape studies. Women traveled in increasing numbers to experience the American landscape and wrote of their adventures poetically. The 2010 exhibition seeks to increase awareness of a previously little-celebrated, but highly talented and accomplished group of women artists associated with the Hudson River School – a genre lasting from approximately 1825 to 1875 that explored a strong sense of detail and a preoccupation with light and how it informs objects in a landscape scene.
“With all the attention that has been given to the 19th-century landscape movement, it is certainly time that the names of these women become better-known…and we are so pleased to bring these women’s fascinating stories to the public,” said Betsy Jacks, executive director of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. Krieger said, “We’ve had wonderful response to the show. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Hopefully this exhibition will help us to uncover more.”
“Remember the Ladies,” accompanied by a printed catalogue with full-color illustrations and essays by Siegel and Krieger, will travel to the Hawthorne Gallery in the fall, with plans underway to develop an enlarged version of the exhibition to travel nationally.
The Thomas Cole Historic Site, historically known as Cedar Grove, is located at 218 Spring Street in Catskill. The Federal-style brick home of the Cole family and the artist’s original studio, plus five landscaped acres, are open to the public from now through the last Sunday in October. Tours are offered Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and students with ID. Admission to the grounds is free of charge. “Remember the Ladies: Women of the Hudson River School” is on view through October 31. For further information visit www.thomascole.org or call (518) 943-7465.