Duo-Scapes             Twilight over a Saturday Night Wilderness

                  Twilight over a Saturday Night Wilderness
                   Twilight over a Saturday Night Wilderness   2004,  24 x 36"  Oil on board  

The two paintings are similar in size and palette.  While the wind may blow the brilliantly colored clouds, it can also play over the soft curtains in the open windows.  Though these two paintings seem to illustrate opposite subject matters they are both about wilderness.
By combining them and adding a touch of modernization Griffin is suggesting a progression of thought from the mid-nineteenth century to today in 70-year leaps.
Our country went through many social changes and experienced great technology changed from Church’s time to Hopper’s time.  There has been an even greater change from Hopper’s time to ours, but the beauty that is America still radiates out to touch us all.

 

Hopper's paintingEdward Hopper  (1882-1967)
Hopper began his art career as an illustrator.  His great interest in the dramatic arts is evident in his painting style, which uses dramatic lighting effects to create tension. 
Even though the country has just been plunged into a recession, the marks of longtime poverty are not evident yet.  Unlike today, the blue laws would have keep the stores closed, but the open windows upstairs suggest that drama could begin at any moment. 

 

                                                               Edward Hopper    Early Sunday Morning, 1930, oil on canvas, 35 x 60"

 

Church's paintingFredrick Church  (1826-1900)
A student of Cole, Fredrick Church was a major artist of the Hudson River School. He painted throughout the North East and Mid-West as well as Europe, South America and the Middle East. In the 1880’s he began building a mansion and studio, Olana, in Hudson, NY, which is now opened to the public.

Historians believe that Fredrick Church saw the sunset that inspired his painting Twilight in the Wilderness from his 10th street studio, in Manhattan, in late June of 1858. 

                                                               Fredrick Church  Twilight in the Wilderness  1860, 40 x 64", Oil on canvas   

Fredrick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux were designing Central Park’s 880 acres by 1858.  It was to be the largest public park in the United States and included several ponds as well as a reservoir and influenced park designs ever after.  People were beginning to see the need of “wilderness” even in the midst of urban living.  With Twilight Church added his voice to those who made a plea to preserve more of our national wilderness.

Further reading:
American Paradise- The World of the Hudson River School, Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1987
Fredric Edwin Church and the National Landscape, Kelly, Franklin; Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington DC; 1988
Edward Hopper- The Art and the Artist, Levin, Gail;  Norton & Co., London, 1980

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