Extreme Nature!

November 10, 2018–February 24, 2019

Extreme Nature! explores how nature’s extremes—remote, fantastical, and unpredictable—permeated artistic imagery throughout the nineteenth century. Influenced by the rise of popular science, artists examined everything from volatile weather patterns and the stars to the Earth’s most cavernous depths. Documentary images of fires and floods enabled viewers to see nature’s destructive power from a distance, while other artists pushed beyond nature’s known boundaries to imagine its limitless possibilities. Featuring more than thirty-five prints, drawings, and photographs, this exhibition reveals how artists sought to mitigate nature’s dangers, transforming the hazardous and remote into awe-inspiring portrayals of natural phenomena.

Currier & Ives (American, 1834–1907) after Artist Unknown (American, 19th century), The Great Fire at Boston, Nov. 9 & 10, 1872, 1872. Hand-colored lithograph on paper, 7 15/16 x 12 11/16 in. Clark Art Institute, Gift of J. Thomas Wilson, 1981.23.