The Hudson River Valley Institute

Home » 2017

Yearly Archives: 2017

Fitz Henry Lane’s “Fishing Party” (1850)

By Michelle Linker, Marist ’18

Fitz Henry Lane (also known as Fitz Hugh Lane) was born on December 19, 1804 in Gloucester, Massachusetts and died in his home there on August 13, 1865. He was born as Nathaniel Lane and when he was 27, he changed his name to Fitz Henry Lane for unknown reasons. During the early 20th century, there was confusion about what his true middle name was, with art historians incorrectly identifying him with the middle name Hugh instead of Henry.[i]

As a young child, Lane lost use of his legs, thought to have been caused by eating a poisonous fruit or possibly polio.[ii] This would force him to use crutches for the rest of his life.  He began studying printmaking under William S. Pendleton at Pendleton’s Lithography, until 1837, when he moved to work at a publishing firm.[iii] Yet the skills he was learning allowed him to open his own publishing firm in 1844. Around this time, he began doing oil paintings of seascapes and harbors. Perhaps it was this building passion for developing his art that inspired him to move back to Gloucester to build himself a studio and focus primarily on painting after only four years with his own print company.

His time at Pendleton’s Lithography trained him formally in art. His experience in printmaking familiarized him with tonal gradation in painting.[iv]  Lane would spend the rest of his life traveling around the Gloucester coastline as well as other US ports, such as Boston, Maine, and New York through the 1850s and 1860s.[v] Lane’s style evolved into what, in the 20th century, came to be referred to as luminism, and his usage of this style along with painting horizontal landscapes would categorize him as a Hudson River Valley School artist by art historians. He particularly liked to paint scenery of the coasts and the ocean.


Fishing Party (1850) Oil on canvas. 19 5/8 x 30 1/4 in. (49.8 x 76.8 cm) Signed and dated lower right: F H Lane 1850., 

Fishing Party (1850) is an oil on canvas painting by Lane, depicting a moonlight night in Indian Bar Cove in Brooksville, Maine.[vi] Lane had also used this scenery in a previous painting, View of Indian Bar Cove, Brooksville, Maine(1850), showing the cove during the late afternoon as the sun is beginning to set in contrast to the deep, cool colors of the night used here.[vii] Something rare about this painting in comparison to Lane’s other pieces is the night setting the sentimentalism, and the inclusion of people gathering in a social setting, as most of his works were much more formal and serene, portraying ships in a bay as a storm is approaching or an early harbor morning. Despite the individuality of this piece from Lane’s other works, it portrays characteristics such as the use of nautical and horizontal scenery, tranquility, luminism in the reflection of light on the clouds and the water from the moon and the bonfire, and particular detail to the surface of the sea.

Out of all of Lane’s paintings I viewed, this piece stood out the most from his usual paintings. Lane and many artists at the time did not depict night scenes, as they were usually more difficult to paint. However, I usually prefer the darker colors of nighttime scenery, and his usage of luminism with the moon and the bonfire give the painting a relaxing warmth. Another aspect of this painting that stood out to me (although he uses it in many of his other works) is the vantage point from the water instead of the shoreline, which makes the viewer feel as though they are floating on a ship within the cove witnessing it themselves. Lane’s greatest talent is in the way he places you into the painting and conveys emotions through his tonality and lighting. When looking at Fishing Party you can feel the atmosphere of the setting: the leisurely attitude of the people, the summer air, the gentle heat of the bonfire, and the calmness of the sea under the moonlight.

*This an other images available at:


Blumberg, Naomi. Britannica Academic, s.v. Fitz Henry Lane, Accessed October 10, 2017,

Holdsworth, Sam. Fishing Party (1850) Commentary. Accessed October 10, 2017.

[i] Blumberg, Naomi. Britannica Academic, s.v. Fitz Henry Lane, Accessed October 10, 2017,

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ibid.

[vi] Holdsworth, Sam. Fishing Party (1850) Commentary. Accessed October 10, 2017.

[vii] Ibid.

David Wagner, painter of the W3R, honored by France

david-wagnerDavid R. Wagner, a lifelong resident of Scotland, Connecticut, attended the Black Hills Teachers College and the University of Connecticut and received a degree in history from Eastern Connecticut State College. A self-taught and versatile artist, Mr. Wagner’s media include
acrylic on canvas paintings and pen and ink illustrations. His subjects include portraits, still-lifes, landscapes, Native American scenes, and representations of historical events, most notably his historical series depicting the activities of the French and Continental Armies during the American Revolution and a collection of 102 paintings depicting
the history of the Eastern Woodland peoples, commissioned by the Mohegan Tribe in Uncasville, Connecticut. The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route collection covers all nine states and the District of Columbia traversed by the armies of Generals Washington and Rochambeau during their campaigns and numbers well over 100

The 77-year-old Wagner is also the recipient of the National Order of Merit from France for his series titled, “The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route.”


The Institute has a number of Mr. Wagner’s paintings in its Bumpus Collection. We purchased them in order to promote the Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail (W3R) and to interpret through art the importance of the contribution of the French Expèdition Particulière to America’s independence. A guide to this collection is available online.

The Autumn 2017 Issue of The Hudson River Valley Review

Out now!


It is hard to imagine anyone associating George Washington with un-American activities, but our lead article reveals that some expressed just such a sentiment toward the Washington Benevolent Society during the War of 1812. The cover article, on the Springside estate of Matthew Vassar, rounds out the noteworthy presentations from our 2015 symposium dedicated to the legacy of Andrew Jackson Downing, the founding figure of American landscape architecture characterized by art scholar Morrison Heckscher as “endlessly fascinating [and] charismatic.”  We want to thank Mr. Heckscher for his commentary throughout the symposium, and to recognize J. Winthrop Aldrich for his witty and inspired concluding remarks, especially his parting wisdom regarding historic preservation: “Be on the alert to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done.”

What are the lessons and circumstances that shape an individual’s ambition and actions? The article on Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Hyde Park upbringing and our adapted Cunneen-Hackett lecture on General Jacob L. Devers provide answers to this question as it relates to these two men who influenced international events and relations. And in addition to our regular Regional History Forums and book reviews, the issue introduces a new, occasional feature called “Personal Reflection.” This first installment focuses on the beginnings of the Hudson River Valley Greenway.

You can preview the issue and read the Regional History Forum, Book Reviews, and New and Noteworthy Books online at:

 The Hudson River Valley Review is available at select booksellers and museum gift-shops throughout the region for $15.00 each. Subscriptions are available through the website at:, or by calling 845-575-3052. A one-year subscription (two issues) is $20.00, save even more by subscribing for two years at $35.00.

The Hudson River Valley Institute at Marist College is the center for the study and promotion of the Hudson River Valley, providing information about the region’s history, culture, economy, and environment, and educational resources to teachers, students, and others through, public programming, and The Hudson River Valley Review. This biannual journal covers all aspects of regional history. All articles in The Hudson River Valley Review undergo peer analysis.

 Contact: Andrew Villani, (845) 575 – 3052,



Vol. 34, No.1, Autumn 2017

The Delinquency of George Holcomb: Civil Disobedience in the Upper Hudson River Valley, 1812,  Jennifer Hull Dorsey

Saving Springside: Preserving Andrew Jackson Downing’s Last Landscape, Harvey K. Flad

“Thy Servant Franklin”: How the Hudson River Valley Shaped the Faith of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Durahn Taylor

2016 Cunneen-Hackett Lecture

From the Hudson to the Rhine: The Life and Service of General Jacob L. Devers,  James Scott Wheeler

Personal Reflection

A Hudson River Valley Greenway,  Barnabas McHenry

Regional History Forum

Beverwyck Manor, Charles Semowich

Washington’s Headquarters at Newburgh, New York: Then and Now, Bernadette J. Hogan

Plus: Book Reviews and New and Noteworthy titles received


Meet the Intern: Dominic Sloma


Hello, my name is Dominic Sloma.  I am a senior History Major at Marist College, and will be interning at the Hudson Valley River Institute for the fall semester.  I am looking forward to diving deeper and help out the Hudson Valley River Institute’s mission.  I am from Niskayuna, NY and being from the Hudson Valley, I have always appreciated the history throughout the area.  My interest in New York State history has been passed down from my father who works for the NYS archives in Albany.

I have had an interest in knowing more about the state and the history of sports, military, and ethnic backgrounds and how these pertain and have shaped New York to what it is today.  I am a former lacrosse player here at Marist, and a currently on the Marist’s club soccer team.  My love for athletics and the outdoors has made me always attempting to travel around the Hudson Valley region and really take in what is all around historically.

After college, I hope can give back to the community and lend a hand.  I aspire to become either a firefighter or a police officer, with possibly joining the National Guard.  I have always looked up to those risk their lives on a daily basis for the protection and freedom we are able to have every day.  Both my parents were in the army, and my family has roots spread around the country in law enforcement, so these have had factors on me as well.  I also hope I can get involved with youth groups and sports, to give kids wherever I am located an outlet to be able to obtain their goals and using sports and education to further their education, as I was able to do.  I hope I can be able to offer a hand on the projects the Institute does here, and can’t wait to get started.

Frederic Edwin Church: Nature and American Spirit on Canvas

winter sunset

With the picturesque landscapes of the Hudson River Valley, it is not surprising that this region inspired the first influential American art movement. From the period roughly between 1825 and 1870, a collective group of artists spawned a Romantic art movement known as the Hudson River School.[1] Frederic Edwin Church was one of the most famous artists amongst the second generation of the movement and one of the most successful American artists of the nineteenth century.

Frederic Edwin Church was born on May 4, 1826 in Hartford, Connecticut. Church’s father, Joseph Church, was a silversmith and watchmaker, both very profitable careers at the time.[2] Joseph was also the son of Samuel Church, who founded the first paper mill in Lee, Massachusetts, all of which provided the Church family with a certain amount of affluence.[3] This wealth allowed Church to pursue his artistic ventures at a young age. Church became the student of Thomas Cole from Catskill, NY at the age of eighteen.[4] Thomas Cole was a painter who is recognized as the founder of the Hudson River School. Church under Cole’s guidance soon rose to be a prominent artist during the mid-nineteenth century, travelling to places such as Canada and South America to paint beautiful scenery.

Twilight in the Wilderness, 1860. Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826–1900). Oil on canvas; 101.6 x 162.6 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1965.233.

This piece, Twilight in the Wilderness, was painted in 1860 and depicts a sunset on the Penobscot River near Katahdin Mountain in Maine.[5] It is characteristic of a Hudson River School piece through its use of landscape, realism, dramatic hues, and presenting an idealization of nature. In particular, Church uses luminism, a type of painting style that evokes the effects of lighting on a landscape while concealing the brush strokes to create a calm feeling to the piece. Church, like many other artists of the Hudson River School, was also highly patriotic and expressed American nineteenth century ideals of manifest destiny within his paintings. In Twilight in the Wilderness, he symbolically presents perfect, untouched American nature and wilderness waiting to be explored. Compared to some of his other works, Twilight in the Wilderness has depth to it with his use of darker tones that creates a warmth but also a looming feeling that something is about to happen. The Cleveland Museum of Art describes the painting’s subject as a premonition of the Civil War’s beginning, “symbolically evoking the coming inferno.”[6] Church put this piece up for seven weeks on exhibition at a prestigious art gallery where the piece enjoyed much publicity and a large amount of spectators during its display.[7]

Twilight in the Wilderness is in my opinion, one of Church’s best works and a representative piece for this chapter of America’s history. Unlike his oil masterpieces of Niagara Falls or tropical paradises, this painting is not as grand, yet its simplicity is what makes it majestic. Since it is not as exaggerated as his other paintings, it is almost more realistic. When looking at Twilight in the Wilderness from a distance, the detail of the clouds in the sky and the trees makes it almost look like a photograph rather than a painting. Without researching anything about this painting, I would not have known it depicted scenery in Maine. The anonymity of the scenery in this painting represents many areas of wilderness in the United States, which allowed me to connect with it. For me, this painting reminded me of my home in the Delaware Water Gap in PA, a family vacation in Shenandoah River Valley, and the Hudson River Valley all at once.


During the last 20 years of his life, Church was afflicted with Rheumatism in the hands and had difficulty painting as a result, although he continued to paint, albeit at a slower pace.[8] He passed away on April 7, 1900 at Olana, his house in Hudson, NY. The house is now a museum and historical site.[9] Olana is an artistic work in itself with its unique architecture and stunning grounds overlooking the Hudson River. To learn more about Olana or how to visit, go to With his mesmerizing and exotic depictions of various landscapes from around the world, Church is easily one of my favorite American artists. His legacy had a lasting effect on American art and hopefully, his paintings will continue to do so for years to come.



By Michelle Linker










“Biography of Frederic Edwin Church”. Frederic Edwin Church: The Complete Works

“Frederic Edwin Church.” Britannica Academic.

“Twilight in the Wilderness (1867)”. Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826–1900). Oil on canvas; 101.6 x 162.6 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1965.233.from


[1] “Frederic Edwin Church.” Britannica Academic.

[2] Biography of Frederic Edwin Church. Frederic Edwin Church: The Complete Works.

[3] Ibid,.

[4] Ibid,.

[5] Twilight in the Wilderness, 1860. Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826–1900). Oil on canvas; 101.6 x 162.6 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1965.233.from

[6] Twilight in the Wilderness, 1860. Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826–1900). Oil on canvas; 101.6 x 162.6 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1965.233.from

[7] Ibid,.

[8] “Frederic Edwin Church.” Britannica Academic.

[9] Ibid,.

Meet the Intern: Reagan Walker

Reagan_WalkerHello! I am Reagan Walker and I will be working with the HRVI this semester. I am a senior at Marist College studying Adolescent Education and History. I hope to incorporate both of my fields of study into my time here at HRVI to enhance the experience of both myself, and hopefully any of my readers. Originally, I am from Fairfield, CT, an area with a great deal of history itself. Between colonization, battles against the British, and witch-hunts, Fairfield is the place where I realized my passion for history, and the Hudson River Valley is where I have come to pursue it. Growing up I have always been a “nerd” for history. Even though I have always known that teaching was the profession for me, history was always in the background, and I knew it was something I had to pursue further in life. Marist and HRVI give me the opportunity to do just that. My studies have completely changed the way I think about our human race, both past and present, both globally and locally.

My love of the subject has taken me to some truly amazing places; over the course of the past 3 years, I have taken several trips to Europe in an attempt to expand my “cultural pallet”. I have studied Renaissance artwork in Italy, metropolitan architecture in France, and extraordinary castles in Austria. My long-term goal is to explore regions of the globe other than the “Western World”, and really to push myself out of my comfort zone. This January I will be taking a service trip to Nicaragua with my family to help with the design and construction of homes in an impoverished village. Someday I hope to chase all of my favorite foods around the globe to experience them in their purest form. These tasks include trying tacos in Mexico, pastel in Brazil, and sushi in Japan. It may seem like a daunting task, but I assure you I am up to the challenge. I ultimately hope to take my skills in education abroad; teaching in a foreign country is my perfect idea of how to pursue my work in the classroom, while immersing myself in a different culture and learning about new parts of our globe.

Since my first visit to Marist, the Hudson Valley has enchanted me, as it has with so many others. Aside from the both iconic and scenic river, the spirit of this location is one that captivates every visitor. I have a professor here at Marist who said, “The Hudson Valley is a revolutionary place”, and I could not agree more. The history of this area is one so rich and deep, it is far too tempting not to delve into, as it is not surprising to me that some of history’s greatest figures have chosen to settle in this location. I plan to further pursue many of these topics here at HRVI, and look forward to deepening and expanding my knowledge through my “nerdy” studies, (of which I could not take more pride in) and sharing them with the rest of my community.

Meet the Intern: Elijah Bender

elijahpictureMy name is Elijah Bender and I am currently a senior at Marist College. This is my first time interning at the Hudson River Valley Institute and I am excited to apply my interest in this region and its past toward the Hudson River Valley Institute’s initiative. I was born and raised in Manhattan and eventually moved to Rhinebeck, NY where I currently live. I developed my love for history in my early years through the stories told by my father and grandfather. Together, we would go antiquing and sightseeing and they would point out notable landmarks, share tales of individuals, and narratives of various historical events.

Growing up in Greenwich Village in Manhattan provided me with a wealth of historical
diversity. In deciding my major, history was a no-brainer and seems to be a perfect fit. I am deeply interested in the Hudson River Valley and constantly seek out sites and stories concerning local history. Marist has been a great experience and I have even learned that I am interested in other areas of history outside of my own; for instance, African studies which I find fascinating. I was honored to be inducted into the Phi Alpha Theta history honors society for my academic achievements and am also a member of the Marist College History Club and the Prelaw Club on campus. Law school is in my future and I am currently studying to take the LSAT and begin the application process. I strongly believe that my degree in history has best prepared me for this next course of education and complements the study of law nicely.

In my free time, I own and operate Foster’s Coach House Tavern in Rhinebeck with my
father. We bought the restaurant in December of 2016 and have worked for the past six months to revive and enhance this Hudson Valley landmark. It has been a wonderful experience to continue the tradition of such a notable establishment and has provided me with a great deal of experience. Outside of academics, I enjoy activities like fishing, shooting, cross country skiing, antiquing, hobby carpentry, historic preservation, cooking, and other similar activities. I find time to volunteer at the Rhinebeck Fire Department where I drive the ambulance and serve as the recording secretary. I am also working on restoring a 1944 Dodge Powerwagon that was an army ambulance in WWII. It’s in rough shape but will hopefully be a showpiece soon enough. I always like a good movie and am fond of the classics. I always gravitate toward watching sports, when time permits, particularly Baseball, Football, and Hockey. I consider it a great honor to be
associated with the Hudson River Valley Institute and am confident the relationship will be mutually beneficial.