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American Light: The Luminist Movement, 1850-1875

February 10 – June 15, 1980
West Building, Ground Floor, Central Gallery, Galleries G-1 through G-10 (12,000 sq. ft.)

John Frederick Kensett, Beach at Beverly, c. 1869/1872, oil on canvas, Gift of Frederick Sturges, Jr., 1978.6.5

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Overview: More than 160 paintings, 49 drawings and watercolors, and 47 photographs reflected the luminist period in 19th-century American landscape painting. Emphasized were the work of Fitz Hugh Lane, Martin Johnson Heade, Sanford Gifford, John F. Kensett, and Frederic Edwin Church, as well as their antecedents and successors in the Hudson River School.

Organization: John Wilmerding, with Linda Ayres, organized the exhibition of works from this newly identified period. Gaillard Ravenel and Mark Leithauser designed the exhibition and Gordon Anson designed the lighting.

Attendance: 317,890

Catalog: American Light: The Luminist Movement, 1850-1875, by John Wilmerding et al. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1980.

Download a free PDF of the exhibition catalog (PDF 129.8MB)