Flint Institute of Arts opens Reflections on Water in American Painting: The Phelan Collection

The Flint Institute of Arts presents Reflections on Water in American Painting:
The Phelan Collection, an exhibition on view 4.6.13 – 6.16.13.

Anton Otto Fischer
Anton Otto Fischer American (1882–1962) Summer Seas oil on canvas, 1945 26 x 32 inches

Tracing the maritime and seaside history of America through 50 paintings, the exhibition Reflections on Water in American Painting also illustrates the different artistic trends that shaped American art. Ranging in date from 1828 to 1945, these paintings depict ship portraits, sailboats, warships, waterside towns, waterscapes, harbor scenes, industrial waterfronts, and beach life, capturing virtually every aspect of life on or in the water.

From its beginning, America’s history has been intertwined with the oceans that bracket the continent and the rivers that cross it. Waterways opened the continent for exploration and the inland commerce that followed. The fall of rivers and the accessibility of natural harbor basins dictated the locations of many major cities. Artists represented in this exhibition, from the early 19th century to the mid 20th century, have taken inspiration from water, depicting not only its functional and practical side but also exploring its inherent beauty.

This exhibition, drawn from the collection of Arthur J. Phelan, documents evolving trends in transportation, and records economic shifts as inland maritime commerce slowly diminished in the wake of railroad expansion. Highlights of the exhibition include a rare 1828 painting by John S. Blunt of a U.S. Naval frigate, James Bard’s meticulously rendered Hudson River steamboat, William Trost Richards’ breaking waves, William Merritt Chase’s beautiful study of the Arno River, and Reginald Marsh’s cathedral-like rendering of a New Jersey railway bridge.

The Flint Institute of Arts
1120 East Kearsley Street
Michigan 48503