Alexander von Humboldt and the United States: Art, Nature, and Culture

March 20, 2020 – August 16, 2020

Frederic Edwin Church, The Natural Bridge, Virginia, 1852, oil on canvas, The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia, Gift of Thomas Fortune Ryan

Smithsonian American Art Museum
8th and F Streets, NW
Washington, DC

Floor Plan

Alexander von Humboldt was arguably the most important naturalist of the 19th century. Alexander von Humboldt and the United States: Art, Nature, and Culture places American art squarely in the center of a conversation on Humboldt’s lasting influence on the way we think about our relationship to our environment. Humboldt’s quest to understand the universe—his concern for climate change, his taxonomic curiosity centered on New World species of flora and fauna, and his belief that the arts were as important as the sciences for conveying the resultant sense of wonder in the interlocking aspects of our planet—make this a project evocative of how art illuminates some of the issues central to our relationship with nature and our stewardship of this planet.