Hudson River School Artists in Arkansas? Who knew?

I recently visited Crystal Bridges, the American art museum founded by Alice Walton. The museum designed by Moshe Safdie, opened in 2011 and it is well worth a visit. Set over a body of water, it is architecturally quite stunning. From inside the museum, one can see the water and outdoor environment as one walks the hallways between the galleries. The restaurant is also set over water, and is very open and filled with light. A large metallic gold colored Jeff Koons heart hangs from the ceiling and reflects the interior of the restaurant. The collection covers painting and sculpture from colonial times to present day. One of my favorite galleries at the museum consists of an extensive collection of Hudson River school artists. Several of the artists in our MIA collection are represented so I got to see works by old familiar friends such Jasper Cropsey, Thomas Moran, and Albert Bierstadt. One of the gems in the collection is Asher Durand’s Kindred Spirits, a painting he made in homage to Thomas Cole after Cole’s death. Walton purchased it from the New York Public Library in 2005 when the library sold it to raise money for its endowment fund. Many New Yorkers were not happy about the sale. Walton’s deep pockets also allowed her purchase of Georgia O’Keeffe’s Jimson Weed (White Flower No.1) in 2014 for 44.4 million dollars, the highest price ever paid for a painting by a female artist. The museum’s modern collection also includes some of our MIA artists such as Marisol, Grace Hartigan, Larry Rivers, Roy Lichtenstein, Nick Cave, and several others. To complete my day at the museum, I walked outdoors around the grounds and saw several outdoor sculptures by Mark di Suvero, Robert Indiana, and Paul Manship. They were surrounded by flowering red buds, magnolias, and peach trees. A spring visit to Crystal Bridges was just what I needed after a Minnesota winter.
Article by: Laura Miller,  Art Adventure Guide