Art: Visions of Two Raw Continents

Compared with America's, Australia's landscapes of the 1800s saw a bleaker beauty

Suppose you started digging a hole on the bank of the Hudson River, the cradle of American 19th century landscape as painted by Thomas Cole, Frederic Church and others. Suppose you kept digging straight down through the center of the earth and came out on the other side. The hole would open up just off Tasmania, the island state of Australia, painted in the 19th century by, among others, John Glover and W.C. Piguenit. There wasn't a single artist in Australia in, say, 1870 who had heard of the Hudson River School. Nor was there one in America who had the...

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