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Traveling exhibit takes an unabashed look at Colorado's natural beauty

click to enlarge Masterfully captured landscapes tout Colorados - splendid beauty.
  • Masterfully captured landscapes tout Colorados splendid beauty.

Rose Fredrick has visited Italy, France, England and much of Central Europe, to name just a few destinations. But in all her experience, she says that Colorado her home of the past 20 years is "one of the most magnificent places in the world."

Fredrick is curator of the Masterpieces of Colorado Landscape art exhibit, now coming to the El Pomar Carriage Museum. The traveling exhibit, first unveiled in February in Durango, features works by more than 40 artists from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as contemporary pieces.

Fredrick says her central intention for the show is to share her and the artists' appreciation and awe for the state of Colorado.

"I wanted to take a look at the historical work of artists who were really pioneers, not during the first expedition, but artists who moved here later, and see what they were painting and what it was like back then," she says. "Then jump to today and develop a comparison between the two."

Although all the paintings in the show are Colorado landscapes, the imagery is distinctively different.

"Each of these artists has a very individual voice," Fredrick says. "I want people to recognize the beauty of the landscape, but then to look deeper and see where the artist was coming from, to get a new perspective on things we take for granted every day."

Pointing to parallels among the artwork in the show, Fredrick says artists from each century "make comments about the social responsibility of people to take care of the land." Also common, she says, are romantic statements.

Bev Mason, El Pomar vice president, says Masterpieces is "a then-and-now look to better understand Colorado's history." She adds that she's particularly honored to showcase "Mount of the Holy Cross," Thomas Moran's 1890 oil painting. The work shows the iconic 14,000-foot mountain, with a pathway in the shape of a cross at its peak, and a whitewater river cascading through the rocky valley below. It's the first time the renowned piece has toured Colorado.

Of historical note, Fredrick says Moran's paintings were "instrumental in persuading Congress to set aside Yellowstone National Park as the world's first national park."

Many of the artists, such as Charles Bunnell, John Carlson, Robert Reid and Sven Sandzen, are native Coloradans who helped create the Broadmoor Art Academy, which later evolved into the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

There's another local tie: Among the Masterpieces works on loan from private collections are a number from Kathy Loo, local collector and fundraising co-chair of the recent FAC expansion.

Masterpieces of Colorado Landscape

El Pomar Carriage Museum, 11 Lake Circle

Show runs Dec. 22 through Feb. 3; Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, 1-5 p.m.

Free; call 577-7065 or visit elpomar.org for more information.

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