SACRAMENTO — Featuring works by artists as diverse as Herman van Swanevelt and Camille Corot, this exhibition celebrates the beauty of landscape drawings from the major European schools. Spanning four centuries, “The Artist’s View: Landscape Drawings from the Crocker Art Museum” consists of 45 of the most important works in the collection, dating from the 16th through the 19th centuries.
This exhibition traces the historical context of landscapes from 17th-century Dutch and Flemish works, including a fine sheet by Anthonie van Waterloo and a newly-attributed Adriaen Frans Boudewijns, through 17th-century Italian and 18th-century German and French drawings. Works from 18th- and 19th-century Germany, which represent one of the heights of landscape drawing and are one of the collection’s major strengths, will also be featured.
Among the highlights of the “The Artist’s View” are two of the best surviving drawings by Willem van Bemmel, representing his Dutch and Italian periods. The first shows the artist himself at work recording a farmstead at the edge of a Northern forest, while the second, a view of the Colosseum, shows the transformation that Italian monuments and light worked on his style. This dialogue between Italy and the North is a major theme of the exhibition — French and German as well as Dutch and Flemish artists went to Italy to study the land, as illustrated by Hubert Robert’s “Temple of Diana at Baia, near Naples,” a new acquisition.
This exhibition also depicts how these artists often returned to themes explored by others. Corot’s scene of woodcutters at the edge of the forest shows the same humble labor as in Bemmel’s farmstead of three hundred years before. Such continuity among variety — of artists, their views, and the views they depicted — is part of the appeal of landscape drawing through the centuries.
The Crocker Art Museum was the first art museum in the Western U.S. and remains one of the leading art museums in California. Established in 1885, the museum features one of the country’s finest collections of Californian art, exceptional holdings of master drawings, a comprehensive collection of international ceramics, as well as European, Asian, African and Oceanic art.
The Crocker is located at 216 O St. in Downtown Sacramento. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays. For more information call (916) 808-7000 or visit crockerartmuseum.org.