Beloit College Magazine

Spring 2014 (March 18, 2014 at 6:00 am)

The Meadows, by Alexander H Wyant

March 17, 2014 at 12:52 pm

the Meadow 

The Meadows, an 1882 oil painting, is a fine example of the artistic style known as Tonalism. It was professionally cleaned and its gilded frame restored in late 2013. The work and an accompanying lecture were made possible by the Wanda Hollensteiner Conservation Fund.

IMPORTANCE: On first glance, The Meadows may look like an unremarkable landscape painting, but its expressionistic style was a radical break from the Hudson River School of landscape painters that preceded it. Before Tonalism was widely accepted, one critic said Wyant’s art “wounded the eye of the viewer” because it signified a shift from meticulously detailed paintings with moral narratives to an evocative, emotional style marked by luminous coloring and loose brushstrokes.

LECTURE: Adrienne Baxter Bell, a scholar of American art and cultural history and art history professor at Marymount Manhattan College, spoke at Beloit in February about The Meadows to a capacity crowd that included Wanda Peterson Hollensteiner’54 and her husband Jim. Bell argued that the Tonalists did not “miss the boat of Modernism,” but were and continue to be highly influential on other artists.

QUOTE:The Meadows is an exemplar of American Tonalism,” Bell said. “It is a beauty.”

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