On view August 28, 2015 – January 3, 2016

James Hamilton, Night Preparations, mid-late 19th century.
James Hamilton, Night Preparations, mid-late 19th century.

This exhibition, drawn entirely from works of art in the Mead’s permanent collection, presents a selection of nighttime scenes reflecting the range of moods captured by artists as they render the world after dark. From romantic, visionary moonlit vistas to modern realist images based on the Apollo space missions, artists have long been captivated by the moon and its effect on the imagination.

The twenty-four works of art in the exhibition include Boston Harbor at Night, an early work by Albert Bierstadt, and Grant Wood’s rare and provocative print Sultry Night. Among the more intriguing works are an etching of the dramatically lit, futuristic Electrical Building at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair and a poster celebrating Paul Van Hoeydonck’s aluminum humanoid sculpture placed on the moon by astronauts in 1971.

Also on view are nineteenth-century Japanese prints and later American works they inspired. The images were chosen to include a variety of media, from watercolor to pastel to oil, and to represent a range of print techniques: woodblock prints, etchings, lithographs, and photographs. The equally diverse nocturnal scenes are variously mysterious, enchanting, and, in some cases, amusing.

Organized by Pamela Russell, Head of Education and Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Academic Programs, this exhibition is made possible with generous support from the David W. Mesker and Hall & Kate Peterson Funds.

Related Events

A Closer Look Gallery Talk: Art After Dark
Thursday, November 5, at 6:30 p.m.
Experience the range of moods in nighttime scenes included in the exhibition during a gallery talk with Pamela Russell, Head of Education and Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Academic Programs.

Mead Reads
Sunday, December 6, 2:30 p.m.
Discuss James Attlee's Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight (2011), a collection of lyrical essays on the allure of the moon around the world, with Mead curators.

Annotated and Illustrated Exhibition Checklist