Art and the Empire City: New York, 1825–1861

September 19, 2000–January 7, 2001

Knickerbocker Writers and Artists

The interrelationship between the visual arts and literature is explored in the fifth gallery, which includes such masterworks as Thomas Cole's 1827 oil painting Last of the Mohicans (Wadsworth Atheneum), inspired by the eponymous James Fenimore Cooper novel, and Asher B. Durand's 1849 iconic painting Kindred Spirits (The New York Public Library), a tribute to both Cole (who had died in 1848) and poet William Cullen Bryant. Marble busts of Cole and Bryant by Henry Kirke Brown flank the painting. Robert Weir's depiction of St. Nicholas (ca. 1837; The New-York Historical Society) lends an elfish face to the character developed by Clement Clarke Moore in 1823 in his classic New York City poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (popularly known as "The Night Before Christmas").