Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Rain Rain, Go Away

By John Hart, Assistant Curator of Collections

There is a painting in the Fenimore Art Museum collection that always makes me stop and think, and this even after a few years of Paul D’Ambrosio explaining the work to my class as a student with the Cooperstown Graduate Program.

Poestenkill, N.Y., 1862
by Joseph Henry Hidley (1830-1872)
Oil on wood panel, H: 19” x W: 31 ¼”, N0382.1955. Photograph by Richard Walker

Poestenkill, N.Y., painted in 1862 by Joseph Henry Hidley, shows a typical New York in the 19th century whose sight lines not only draw you to the village, but to the clouds above. It makes you stop and think, ‘Has the storm passed or is it just arriving?’ 

Given the weather we’ve had in Cooperstown over the past few days (torrential downpours, thunder, lightning and streets flooding), I was reminded of this painting. We’ve had cloudscapes the past few days that definitely make you wonder, ‘How bad are we going to get hit this time?!’ Several years ago the area received such bad storms that several roads were washed out, a bridge was destroyed, and other significant damage.  I hope to not experience that anytime soon, and rather focus on the peaceful calm of the village of Poestenkill. 

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