The sun has just set in this lush landscape. Stephen Hannock has rendered a luminous twilight glow across the sky, trees, fields, and river. At center, Hannock has depicted the Oxbow, the celebrated curve of the Connecticut River made famous by Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole in his 1836 painting, View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm—The Oxbow (in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art).
Since 1979, Hannock has drawn inspiration from Cole’s painting, reinterpreting the Oxbow in over 40 paintings, including examples in the collections of the Smith College Museum of Art, the Hood Museum at Dartmouth College, and the Yale University Art Gallery. Hannock conceived this particular work to link it with the paintings at these three museums that each have a unique proximity to the Connecticut River.
Hannock’s affinity for the Oxbow is also personal as he lived in Northampton for seventeen years, having earned his BA at nearby Hampshire College. Within the cornfields in the foreground, Hannock has inscribed notes and memories connected with the local geography depicted here, including directions to special places and stories about friends, colleagues, and mentors. Accompanying some of these diaristic entries are small, collaged photos. In particular, a photo located within the trees at center right features Hans and Kate Morris ’82, close friends who donated this painting to MHCAM in 2020.
Tricia Y. Paik, Florence Finch Abbott Director
sunset; landscapes; rivers; mountains; writing; photographs; grasses; trees; clouds; sky
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