The REACH Museum is hosting a visiting exhibition of historic art images of the Pacific Northwest. “Columbia & Cascade: A River and A Range, 1853-1854″ features thirty-one prints selected from U.S. Pacific Railroad survey reports. These exquisitely detailed prints, made from steel engravings, include scenes of familiar locations along the Columbia River as they appeared in the 1850s, as well as botanical and zoological drawings. Those interested in regional history, local flora and fauna, and art will all find something of interest in this exhibit.
“Columbia & Cascade” features the works of several artists who excelled in documenting the beauty of the landscape while surveying for an ideal route for the railway, including John Mix Stanley, John J. Young, and John H. Richards. The U.S. government published the entire body of work from the surveys in a report chronicling the lands, waters, and native peoples of the American West. Exhibit curator Lee Silliman chose these images from two separate surveys to represent the Columbia River where it transects the Cascade Mountain range. The dramatic landscape is captured in relatively small drawings out of necessity; artists were travelling on foot and on horseback to remote areas at a time when photography had limited portability. But for their size, each image packs enough detail to keep the viewer lingering.
“Columbia & Cascade: A River & A Range” will be in the REACH Museum’s Hoch Gallery April through August 2022.