Artist Road Trip: New York and the Hudson River Valley
Edward Hopper House
Edward Hopper’s haunting cityscapes are familiar to visitors to the Whitney Museum of American Art, but it’s his early home in Rockland County that provided much inspiration and context. The Nyack countryside gave him ample exposure to light and landscape, which he incorporated into his many depictions of city and country life in the 20thcentury. The Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center currently serves as an exhibition space for exhibitions relating to Hopper and works of various artists.
Thomas Cole National Historic Site
Thomas Cole is synonymous with the Hudson River School. It was Cole who gave birth to America’s first significant art movement and his landscapes occupy an important place in museums like the National Gallery, New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art and Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. After a visit to Cole’s beautiful Catskill home with its sweeping views of the Catskill Mountains, you might just be tempted to pause a while with your own sketchbook. The Thomas Cole National Historic Site features changing exhibits of landscape paintings.
Olana State Historic Site
In nearby Hudson, Frederic Edwin Church, the second important painter of the Hudson River School, established his family home, studio and estate. Unlike his teacher Thomas Cole, Church is best known for paintings of exotic locales instead of the local scenery that Cole favored. Resembling a Hudson River School painting, the Olana State Historic Site covers 250 acres and includes Church's Persian-inspired house with commanding views of the Hudson River Valley. On display are paintings by Church as well as other collected art.
Russel Wright Design Center
The Manitoga/The Russel Wright Design Center in Garrison invites visitors to spend time contemplating Wright’s seamless merging of indoor and outdoor design. This famous house, created by industrial designer Russel Wright, seems to flow effortlessly into beautiful gardens with waterfalls, an example of the modernist design he introduced to the world. The setting was transformed from a ravaged industrial site into a spot for artistic creativity with miles of paths and views of the Hudson River.
Artist Road Trip: New England
Another favorite area of artists, the Berkshires in western Massachusetts is the location of Chesterwood, the summer home, studio and gardens of lauded American sculptor Daniel Chester French. One of America’s foremost public sculptors, French created more than 100 monuments including the acclaimed Minute Man in Concord, Massachusetts and Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial. Many of the original plaster models and sculptures in bronze and marble can be viewed in his Stockbridge home. Visitors are welcome to wander the European-inspired gardens, particularly beautiful in the spring and autumn.
Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio
The next town over, Lenox, is the site of Bauhaus-inspired Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio, the two-story white stucco and glass, modernist home of Suzy Frelinghuysen and George L.K. Morris, painters, collectors and founders of American Abstract Art. The house is notable for its contrast to the “cottage”-type architecture found in the area. The house museum displays an extensive collection of mid-century art including the couple’s own cubist works.
Winslow Homer's Studio
Winslow Homer was inspired by the rough coastlines of Maine, particularly those in the southern part of the state. His studio, located on Prouts Neck in Scarborough, is overseen by the Portland Museum of Art. If you walk along the peninsula and the beach, you’ll understand the chilly, rocky images that Homer painted. You might even recognize some of the views from paintings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Museum or Chicago Art Institute. Homer spent 17 years at this location, living in the simple understated structure and painting from a balcony overlooking the ocean. To visit the studio, you must first stop at the Portland Museum of Art – a chance to see some of the artist’s paintings – and then board a shuttle to Prouts Neck.
Rockwell Kent's Home & Studio
As early as 1850, Monhegan Island in Maine had become a magnet for artists. The headlands of the remote island and its wild, car-free setting were a draw for creative souls, appealing with their natural beauty and simplicity. Up steep Light House Hill, artist Rockwell Kent built a home and studio that was later used by artist James Fitzgerald and portraitist Alice Stoddard. Kent painted much of what he saw daily en plein air focusing on regional realism while Fitzgerald’s watercolor interpretations of the area were created from memory and sketched indoors. Kent’s famous Winter, Monhegan Island is a stylized depiction, on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Artworks created by Fitzgerald and Stoddard are shown in the nearby Monhegan Museum of Art & History.
A Guide to Artist Homes & Studios
The National Trust for Historic Preservation and writer Valerie A. Balint has created a guide that covers these areas and more, including detail and photos for 44 artists' homes and working studios in 21 states.