Around the World and Back Again: New Bedford Artists Abroad

Exhibition Dates: October 30, 2014 – May 2016

Before New York City arguably became the epicenter of the modern art world in the early 20th century, many American artists were drawn to Europe for technical and cultural training. The American west was being romanticized by the Hudson River School at this time, and many painters and photographers traveled to remote corners of the United States to capture the spectacles of nature. The work New Bedford artists produced based on their travels not only reflected European influences and burgeoning nationalistic pride in the wonders of the American landscape, but it also informed audiences at home of the world beyond Buzzards Bay.

Commercial prospects were diverse, and artists marketed work through performance or presentation pieces, like Benjamin Russell and William Bradford, while others worked on more intimate oils and watercolors for private sale, like Clement Nye Swift or Albert Pinkham Ryder. Their works were for the most part for sale, and efforts would have been made to cater to their audiences’ tastes back at home. These interests are also reflected in industrial design, architecture, and fashion in New Bedford.

From the mosques of the Middle East to the canals of Venice, the beaches of Alaska  to the Roman Forum, see the world as 19th century New Bedford did: through the eyes of its artists.

The exhibition opened with a reception on Thursday, October 30. The evening began at 6 p.m. followed by a 7 p.m. lecture by Janice Hodson, Curator of Art at the New Bedford Free Public Library. This lecture was part of the Old Dartmouth Lyceum lecture series.

Last modified: December 16, 2016