Nature on Display

August 18, 2017 | By Tim Pratt

Mitchell Gallery art educator Lucinda Edinberg, left, watches as gallery preparator Neal Falanga begins setting up the exhibit.
Mitchell Gallery art educator Lucinda Edinberg, left, watches as preparator Neal Falanga begins setting up the exhibit.

In the Mitchell Gallery at St. John’s College in Annapolis, a variety of drawings adorn the walls.

There are images of mountains and rivers and valleys; of trees and waterfalls and sailboats.

People dressed in 19th-century garb can be seen in some of the works. In others, the depictions are more abstract.

The exhibition is called “The Lure of Nature: Landscape Drawings from the Thaw Collection.” It opens August 25 and runs through October 15.

The works come from the collection of St. John’s graduate Eugene Thaw (Class of 1947) and wife Clare Eddy Thaw. The Thaws over the years compiled an extensive collection of drawings, paintings and artifacts that are now shared with a number of institutions, including more than 400 drawings with the Morgan Library and Museum in New York.

The exhibition at St. John’s this fall, like an exhibition also mounted at the Morgan, celebrates Eugene Thaw’s 90th birthday in October.

“He’s very interested in the education of art and exploration of art,” says Reba Snyder, paper conservator at the Morgan. “It’s a great testament to his love of the college and his love of art.”

The exhibition features work by Alexander Cozens, Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable, Joseph Koch, J.M.W. Turner, Caspar Wolf and other noted artists of the 18th and 19th centuries.

The English and German romantic landscape drawings show a shift from classical subjects and the rational, scientific world of the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution to themes of nature as a source for inspiration and emotional expression.

The works are of “outstanding quality” and show “mastery of technique,” says Hydee Schaller, director of the Mitchell Gallery.

The exhibit opens to the public at noon on August 25. Through October 15, there will be tours, lectures, discussions and other activities. See the Mitchell Gallery schedule of events for more information.

This exhibition is made possible by the Morgan Library & Museum, New York, with additional support provided by the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Charitable Trust. The Mitchell Gallery is grateful to the Arthur E. and Hilda C. Landers Charitable Trust for its contribution to this exhibition.