Celebrate the return of spring as Reynolda House Museum of American Art
opens A Genius for Place: American Landscapes of the Country Place Era. The exhibition will be on view in the main gallery of the Mary and Charlie Babcock Wing through Aug. 5.
Curated by landscape historian Robin Karson, who chose seven iconic American estates from coast to coast for the project, the exhibition features 70 black-and-white and seven color photographs by photographer Carol Betsch of influential landscape designs created between 1895 and the last years of the Great Depression. By documenting the estates that survive from the Country Place Era, A Genius for Place invites visitors to consider the importance of protecting these significant examples of American landscape design.
The museum displays alongside the exhibition six photographs of the Reynolda estate taken by the exhibition photographer that illuminate Reynoldas significance in the Country Place Era as one of the rare surviving examples of a Country Place estate.
Early in the 20th century, new fortunes in the United States made it possible for many city-dwellers to commission country estates. Wealthy industrialists could work in town and escape deteriorating urban centers to enjoy healthy air and breathtaking scenery. A widespread belief in the cultural and salutary benefits of rural life; the availability of money and prime land; and growing legions of landscape architects set the stage for ambitious residential landscape designs across the country.
The noted American landscape architect Charles Eliot said that landscape architecture is primarily a fine art, says Reynolda House Managing Curator Allison Slaby. This exhibition is a different experience for visitors because the subject of the photographsthe landscapesare the works of art. So many people enjoy the Reynolda landscape each day that it will be exciting to help our visitors experience their surroundings in a more meaningful way.
A Genius for Place: American Landscapes of the Country Place Era was organized by Library of American Landscape History, Amherst, Massachusetts.