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Tour of Olana House, Lockwood de Forest Exhibition and Grounds

2:30 P.M. - Saturday, November 1, 2014: Explorers Club Group Tour of Olana House, Lockwood de Forest Exhibition and Olana Grounds
Please arrive by 2:15 P.M.

Cost: $10.00 Per Person for House Tour (Landscape Tour is at no extra charge)

Reservation Deadline: Friday, October 31, 2014
Reservations: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call: Tel: (212) 628-8383

Travel Instructions: See below at the bottom of the page

House Tour: One Hour, 15 minutes.
Landscape Tour on Ridge Road: 30 minutes.
House Tour and Landscape Tour: 2 ½ Hours
Tour Guides: Evelyn D. Trebilcock, Curator; Mark Prezorski, Landscape Curator; Valerie Balint, Associate Curator; Amy Hufnagel, Director of Education and Paul Banks, Interpretive Programs Assistant.

House Tours are limited to 13 people. You will be divided into groups of 13 and will all tour the house at the same time, starting in different rooms. You will be in one group for the Landscape Walk.

Olana is the Home, Studio, and Designed Landscape of 19th-century Artist and Explorer Frederic Edwin Church

The eminent Hudson River School painter Frederic Edwin Church (1826 – 1900) conceived Olana, his family home, studio, and estate as an integrated environment embracing architecture, art, and artist-designed landscape. Considered one of the most important artistic residences in the United States, Olana is a national historic landmark with a 250-acre designed landscape and a Persian-inspired house designed by Calvert Vaux with Church’s input at its summit and unrivaled panoramic views of the vast Hudson Valley.

Andy Wainwright, Court Hall in the Main House at Olana, 2004
© Andy Wainwright

The House and All The Raj:

The house is furnished with Church's paintings, sketches and collections including natural history specimens, pre-Columbian artifacts, Asian ceramics, 19th-century furniture and old master paintings.

Church’s paintings were inspired by his global exploration. In the 1850s he traveled to Colombia and twice to Ecuador, capturing images of volcanoes and the diverse plant life. To balance his southern explorations, he ventured to Newfoundland and Labrador in search of icebergs – sketching from the deck of the ship. In 1865 Church and his wife sojourned in Jamaica. Frederic made numerous oil studies of the Blue Mountains, ocean views, and the vast array of ferns, while Mrs. Church gathered fern specimens. Two years later they departed for 18-months in Europe and the Middle East. From Beirut, Frederic visited the Nabatean city of Petra recording the details of his adventure in his Diary. In the 1880s and 1890 they wintered in Mexico and Church enjoyed sketching the volcanoes and purchasing native crafts and artifacts.

On all of these trips, Church sketched the plants, mountains, waterfalls, volcanoes and vistas. His masterpiece inspired by his time in Ecuador, The Heart of the Andes, 1859 brought the topography and vegetation of South America to audiences in America and Europe. Exhibited in eight American cities and Great Britain, the canvas was displayed in a frame resembling a window and with dramatic lighting. The debut of the painting was an event in New York City - 12,000 people viewed the painting in the first three weeks of its exhibition. The final study for the painting is in the collection at Olana.

In addition to the permanent collection on view in the period rooms, in the Sharp Gallery this year’s special exhibition, “All the Raj – Frederic Church and Lockwood de Forest; Painting, Decorating and Collecting at Olana,” features oil sketches and decorative arts by landscape painter and 19th-century tastemaker Lockwood de Forest (1850 –1932). De Forest studied painting with his great-uncle Frederic Church in the 1870s; the exhibition highlights sketches showing the two artists working side by side at Olana. After his student years with Church, de Forest formed a partnership with Louis Comfort Tiffany and traveled to India and Kashmir buying and commissioning a variety of Indian textiles and furniture. Church bought a number of objects from de Forest for the house at Olana– these collections are also featured in the exhibition and in the period rooms.

Larry Lederman, View Across the Lake to the Main House, Olana, 2010
© Larry Lederman, All rights reserved

Olana’s Designed Landscape:

Olana’s 250-acre naturalistic landscape is one of Frederic Church’s great works of art, and it exists today as one of the most intact artist-designed landscapes in the United States. Because it was created by a major Hudson River School painter in the birthplace of that art movement, the landscape at Olana possesses an exceptional sense of place – genius loci. Church was intimately involved in all aspects of his landscape’s creation and design. “I am busy landscape architecturing!” wrote Church in 1887. His large-scale composition included a working and ornamental farm, meadows, outbuildings, an “artificial” lake, native woodlands, and more than five miles of carriage roads, so that visitors could move through and experience Olana’s crafted foreground against a backdrop of sublime and far-reaching views.

Meal Options: If you want a meal before or after your tour at Olana, we suggest box lunches from The Cascades: tel: (518)-822-9146. You may want to visit restaurants in the town of Hudson, which is 10 minutes from Olana: There are many options: Café Le Perch, Ca Mea or Swoon Kitchen Bar.

For more information, visit:

Olana is roughly 2 hours from New York City:
Olana State Historic Site
5720 Route 9G
Hudson, NY 12534

Travel Instructions:
By Train & Taxi: Take Amtrak to the Hudson station, then a ~10 min. taxi ride from the town of Hudson to Olana.
Options by Car:

1. Take NYS Thruway (I-87) to Exit 21/Catskill. Follow signs for Route 23 East and Hudson. Cross Rip Van Winkle Bridge and bear right onto Route 9G South. Olana is on the left, one mile south of Rip Van Winkle Bridge.

2. Take Route 9 North through Rhinebeck. Take a left at the light onto Route 9G North. It’s approximately 20 miles to Olana. The entrance is on the right. If you reach the intersection for Rip Van Winkle Bridge, you have gone too far.

3. Take Route 9 South into Hudson. Turn right on Warren Street. Turn Left on Third Street, which becomes Route 9G South. Continue on Route 9G approximately 3-4 miles. Do not cross Rip Van Winkle Bridge. Olana is on the left, one mile south of the bridge.

Top photo: Andy Wainwright, View South from the Bell Tower, Main House, Olana, 2004, ©Andy Wainwright

Date: 11/01/2014

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Background image photography courtesy of members Christoph Baumer, Neil Laughton, Matt Harris and Don Walsh's image of the Bathyscape Trieste