Albert Bierstadt, The Rocky Mountains, Landers Peak, 1863, oil on canvas, 73 1/2 x 120 3/4 in. 186.7 x 306.7 cm

Albert Bierstadt, The Rocky Mountains, Landers Peak, 1863, oil on canvas, 73 1/2 x 120 3/4 in. 186.7 x 306.7 cm (for other paintings, see full captions with dimensions at end)

The MMA’s New American Wing is a feast of paintings.  There are so many, and they are so fine and varied, and worth seeing for different reasons.  The overall effect is to give a sense of the strength of the American painting tradition, placing it on a par with the European traditions.  That’s clearly what the designers of the new wing intended, and they succeeded.  And why, evidently, the galleries are “a contemporary interpretation of 19th-century Beaux-Arts galleries,” according to a Museum description.  The general sense is familiar great.  It engenders a sense of pride in the accomplishments of American painting in the circumscribed period the Wing covers, from the 18th Century to 1920.

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