Window on the West Views From the American Frontier

Exhibition Dates:

Organized by
Exhibits Development Group, USA

October 18, 2014 – January 11, 2015 Warner Gallery

Bierstadt Nebraska TerritoryWeb

Window on the West, a collection of Arthur J. Phelan, is an extraordinary examination of Western American art. The exhibition features 64 paintings and drawings by artists who were some of the first non-indigenous people to cast an eye over the western frontier. Artists represented in this spectacular exhibition include some of the greatest, most prominent American landscape and genre painters of the 19th and early 20th centuries, including: John James Audubon, Albert Bierstadt, Frederick Remington, John F. Kensett, and Peter Moran, among others.

Hill Giant Geyser, YellowstoneText accompanying the exhibition states:

The works here offer a unique view of western development that differs from many of the more mythic interpretations that have ingrained themselves into America’s popular imagination. This is the West presented not as the stuff of legend so often displayed on the silver screen, but rather as a newly minted frontier seen through the eyes of those artists who personally explored the West and recorded on paper and canvas what they discovered.

Loosely divided into three themes, the exhibition explores the ways in which America’s ideas of national identity became intertwined with, and expressed through, our visual conception of the western frontier. The section entitled “Natural Beauty, Natural Wonder” consists of landscapes sometimes painted to lure potential settlers with depictions of the wide open spaces, mountainous skylines, and geological formations foreign to the native scenery of the East Coast. Similarly, views depicting “Western Settlement and Development” attempted to convince potential settlers that frontier life, while still exotic, offered luxuries and security comparable to what they were leaving behind. A third section, “Images and Icons,” documents the people who came before and after settlement began to alter the raw natural beauty of the landscape.

This diverse visual anthology of westward expansion and settlement illustrates how certain art works are products of their social, political and economic contexts. Window on the West reminds us to think critically about westward migration in America and how much truth is actually reflected in a typical John Wayne Saturday matinee.

Images: Top: Albert Bierstadt, Nebraska Territory Wasatch Mountains, 1859, oil on canvas;
Above, Thomas Hill, Giant Geyser, Yellowstone, oil on paper

The American Series is an annual event which shares, with our regional audience, the rich art history and culture of our nation. Represented in these exhibitions are many of the key artists and artistic movements responsible for creating an American art legacy. This will be the 8th year we have offered this series and it continues to gain momentum and respect in the community for the rich visual perspectives it offers on American art.

The South Bend Museum of Art’s 2013-2014 Exhibition Program is made possible, in part, with support from the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County’s ArtsEverywhere Initiative.

With Support from:

Summit Sponsors

CFSJC+EI logos

Peak Sponsors


Pokagon Fund, TCU logos

Horizon Sponsors

Visit South Bend

InKind Donors

Shirks Pianodoubletree

Individual Contributions


Jan & J.C. Freiden
L. Brown & Mary L. Sanders
Lynda B. & Charles S. Simon


Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Bancroft
Lynn & Scott Blue
Jan Richard & Mary Reineke
Teri & Bud Stout


Richard Dennen
Marcia Rickard & Dennis Doordan
Anne Feferman
Gerber Family Fund
Jackie MacKenzie
Northern Indiana Artists
Studebaker National Museum (in memory of Bob Shields)
Carole Walton
Harold & Doreen Zisla


Judith Bock
Dayle Brown & David Piser
The Carriage House Dining Room
Joe & Joyce Dunfee
Robert and Peg Laven
M/E Design Services
Sam & Sherill Mirkin
Elizabeth Overmyer
Charlene Plasschaert
John & Nancy Pycik
Mr. & Mrs. Donald A. Siberell
Meg Auth & Jerry Thoma
John Voorde
Tim & Jackie Welsh


George & Ramona Beamer
Mary Jane Buzolich
Judy Chase
Audrey M. Davis
Dagny M. Diamond
Sharon Donlon
Roy & Joy Grove
Harriet Hamer & Abram Bergen
Mary M. Jackson
Linda Sue Phillips
Ernest Reed
Mary Jo Tompos
William C. Whitman

Contributions in Memory of Robert C. Shields

1st Source Bank
Mr. & Mrs. Stephen A. Anella
Bambers Superette
Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Brunner
John Charles Bryant
Janette Burkhart-Miller
Tom Casteel
Melayna Clark
Mr. & Mrs. James Cooke
Mr. & Mrs. Frank Cunningham
Angela Dennig
Dr. Eleanor Eggers
Mr. & Mrs. Ron Emanoil
John Ester
Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Gobdel
Cecilia Gobdel
Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Greenberg
Carolyn Hardman
Mr. & Mrs. Dennis Hulth
Indiana Trust & Investment Company
Dr. & Mrs. Jon Kintner
Natalie & Paul Klein
Corrie Klimek
Marme Kopp
Mr. & Mrs. Hubert Kuzmich
Mr. & Mrs. Brian Lake
Mr. & Mrs. Ray Larson
Cheryl Little
Claudia A. Maslowski
Anne D. McGraw
Mr. & Mrs. Michael McKinnis
Mr. & Mrs. Daryl Nakonezny
Mr. & Mrs. Daniel O’Donnell
Frank Perri
Mr. & Mrs. John Phair
Mr. & Mrs. Paul Price
Charles & Lucy E. Quaintance
Mrs. William Racine
Dr. & Mrs. J.R. Reineke
Dr. David & Mitzi B. Sabato
Mr. & Mrs. William J. Schmuhl
Mr. & Mrs. William Seybold
Mr. & Mrs. Harry S. Shaffer
Jean Whittemore Sharp
Tracy & Gretchen Shellabarger
Gregory Simpson
Brian Sittley
John Smarrella
Donna Snyder
John Steinmetz
Mr. & Mrs. Richard Stifel
Ms. Sigrid Thanos
Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Turnock
University of Notre Dame
Susan Visser & Bron Janulis
Mr. & Mrs. Tsung Yeh

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