The Lure of the Hudson River Valley Its Architecture, History, and Art An Armchair Journey

Three Tuesdays, September 18 and 25 and October 2, 6:00–7:30 p.m. | Tiny’s Boxwood Restaurant at Thompson+Hanson Nursery and Gardens 3600 West Alabama; limited enrollment

In preparation for the Houston Seminar’s study tour of the Hudson River Valley in mid October, we offer three lectures on the architecture, history, and art of this region. Enrollment is open both to those participating in the tour and to those not participating. Pre-lecture hors d’oeuvre and beverages will be served.

September 18: Stephen Fox, “From Rural Farmhouses to Industrial Cities”
The Hudson River Valley is a rich repository of American urban, rural, and recreational architecture. Settled by Europeans in the 17th century, this was a fertile agricultural area. After the opening of the Erie Canal, prosperous industrial cities developed as did rustic resorts and country places for New York elites. Thus, the region possesses significant architecture that complements the artistic, literary, and scenic significance of this American Heritage River.

Stephen Fox is a fellow of the Anchorage Foundation of Texas and a lecturer in architectural history at Rice University and the University of Houston.

September 25: Robert Lifset, “From the Dutch to the Environmentalists: A Short History of the Hudson River Valley”
Over the past 380 years, the Hudson River Valley has been a breadbasket, a center of industry, and an environmental treasure. It has been a military asset, a fishery, and a refuge from New York City. The valley has welcomed near-penniless immigrants as well as America’s wealthiest families. And it inspired America’s earliest literary and artistic movements. This talk will examine the history of a fiercely contested landscape of breathtaking beauty.

Robert Lifset is a research assistant professor of history at the University of Houston. He recently earned a doctorate at Columbia University, where his dissertation examined environmental issues in the Hudson River Valley.

October 2: Emily Ballew Neff, “American Painters of the Hudson River School”
There was, in fact, no “school” along the Hudson River; nevertheless, the name is used to describe romantic landscape painting in the United States from the 1820s until it was supplanted by newer styles, such as Impressionism. In this session, Emily Neff will discuss the art of Thomas Cole, Thomas Doughty, Frederic Church, Jasper Cropsey, Thomas Moran, and Albert Bierstadt, among others, and will explore the dominant role of romantic landscape painting in 19th-century American art.

Emily Ballew Neff, curator of pre-1940 American painting and sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, holds a doctorate. in the history of art from the University of Texas at Austin. Exhibitions she has curated include “The Modern West: American Landscapes, 1890–1950” and “ John Singleton Copley in England.” Ms.Neff has received many prestigious fellowships, and she is the author of The Modern West: American Landscapes, 1890–1950 (Yale University Press, 2006).

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Registration for fall 2018 is ongoing. You may register online, by mail, or by phone with a credit card. 


If you are interested in traveling to Virginia in the spring of 2019, please call the registrar at 713.666.9000 to place your name on a list. Please see Terms and Conditions for "travel list" policy. 


Please note a date in the Mid-term Elections course has changed from that published in the brochure. The course will meet the first two Mondays, October 29 and November 5 as planned, but will meet Tuesday, November 13 instead of Monday, November 12. 


Also note Art Underground: Carlos Cruz-Diez at the Cistern on Wednesday, November 14 is FULLY SUBSCRIBED. A second session has been added and will meet Monday, November 12 from 2:00-3:30 P.M. Registrations are being accepted for November 12. You may register online, or by phone.


Who Gets to Vote: Challenges for the 2020 Elections?
Speaker: Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Voter Rights Project
Monday, November 19, 6:30-8:00 P.M.
Location to be announced


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