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Smithsonian American Art Museum Director Discusses Frederic Church’s Paintings

Image of painting of Niagara FallsMiddlebury ~ Eleanor Jones Harvey, senior curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, will discuss the paintings of Frederic Church in the context of American ambitions in a talk at Ilsley Public Library in Middlebury on May 1 at 7:00 pm. Her talk,Natural Icons and National Identity: Frederic Church’s Landscapes,is part of the Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays lecture series and is free and open to the public. 

Frederic Church painted landscapes of distinctive American features, including Natural Bridge in Virginia and Niagara Falls in New York. Eleanor Jones Harvey’s talk will explore how and why we used these American landscapes to distinguish the scale and scope of our cultural ambitions.

Eleanor Jones Harvey is senior curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She earned a BA with distinction in art history from the University of Virginia (1983), and an MA (1985) and PhD (1998) in the history of art from Yale University. She served as the Museum’s Chief Curator from 2003-2012, overseeing the museum’s curatorial and conservation staffs and its acquisitions and collections programs. Prior to coming to the Smithsonian, she served as the curator of American art at the Dallas Museum of Art, where she organized several exhibitions. She has contributed essays to numerous books. Her current project, American Cosmos, focuses on the impact the German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt had on American art, literature, science, politics, and exploration.

About First Wednesdays

The Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays series is held on the first Wednesday of every month from October through May in nine communities statewide, featuring speakers of national and regional renown. Talks in Middlebury are held at Ilsley Public Library unless otherwise noted. All First Wednesdays talks are free and open to the public. See the full schedule of Middlebury First Wednesdays talks.

The statewide underwriters for the First Wednesdays 2018-2019 series are The Alma Gibbs Donchian Foundation, the Windham Foundation, and the Institute of Museum & Library Services through the Vermont Department of Libraries.

The First Wednesdays 2018-2019 series in Middlebury is underwritten by The Residence at Otter Creek.

“Natural Icons and National Identity” is underwritten by A Friend of the Series.

Ilsley Public Library is sponsored by Friends of the Ilsley Library.

For more information, contact the Ilsley Public Library at 802.388.4095 or contact the Vermont Humanities Council at 802.262.2626 or , or visit www.vermonthumanities.org.


About Vermont Humanities Council

The Vermont Humanities Council seeks to engage all Vermonters in the world of ideas, foster a culture of thoughtfulness, and inspire a lifelong love of reading and learning. Because Ideas Matter.