Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Otsego Lake Paintings

By: Michelle Murdock, Curator of Exhibitions
Do you know what I can see from my office window? I’m incredibly fortunate to look out and see one of the most beautiful, and most well-known, lakes in the United States. Fenimore Art Museum sits on the west shore of Otsego Lake, commonly known as Glimmerglass. James Fenimore Cooper coined its nickname in his early 19th -century novels. In fact, Cooper’s portrayal of the Lake in The Pioneers, was the first example in an American novel of a view of nature as something beautiful to be preserved instead of a threatening obstacle to be overcome.

Fenimore Art Museum holds numerous artifacts related to Otsego Lake, including several dozen drawings, prints and paintings and hundreds of photographs. Of the more than twelve paintings that come immediately to mind for me, my favorites include Cooperstown Winter Carnival by Janet Munro and Lake Party at Three Mile Point by Julius Gollmann and Louis Remy Mignot. On my daily commute to work, I pass by the Lake’s public-access Three Mile Point Park and I often picture the Lake Party painting in my mind. The painting is the combined work of Louis Remy Mignot and Julius Gollmann, two artists who spent the summer of 1855 in Cooperstown. Mignot painted the landscape in his meticulous Hudson River School style, while the figures were completed by Gollmann, a German portraitist. What I especially like about the painting, though, is the inclusion of many of Cooperstown’s notables around the time when the Point was purchased by the town for the benefit of the public. Included is Judge Samuel Nelson, who was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1845 to 1872.

Fenimore Art Museum strives to collect artifacts of local importance. Its Otsego Lake views, including the recently-acquired Otsego Lake by Thomas Hicks, are among its great American treasures. Four of our Otsego Lake paintings are on view in Fenimore Art Museum until May 6th. You can learn more about Otsego Lake in Otsego Lake: Past and Present available from our Museum Shops.
Top: Lake Party at Three Mile Point, Otsego Lake, New York, ca. 1855. By Louis Remy Mignot and Julius Gollmann. N0341.1955
Bottom: Otsego Lake, 1862. By Thomas Hicks. N0018.2006(01)

No comments:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin