Olana State Historic Site
May 12 – October 27, 2024
Exhibition organized by The Olana Partnership


Since 2020, global events, including COVID-19, have brought many of us face-to-face with the realities of death on the largest scale in our lifetimes. In a time of grief, reflection, and hope, Afterglow looks at how Frederic Church and his family grieved and found peace after loss in their own time. At the heart of this exhibition are Frederic Church’s rarely seen memorial landscape paintings. While Church is best known for his monumental, panoramic paintings of natural wonders, he also created smaller, intimate works full of personal symbolism for a primary audience of friends and family. Church painted these memorial landscapes throughout his career, and they are key documents of nineteenth-century America’s search for spirituality in nature. As he experienced personal losses, Church expressed grief through his paintings and immersed himself in the natural world to heal. At Olana, Church’s family home and designed landscape, the historic house interacts with the landscape and framed views of the natural world, a powerful source of solace and inspiration. As you explore Olana, we invite you to reflect on the healing power of landscapes in your own life.

Selected Works

Frederic Edwin Church, To the Memory of Cole, 1848. Oil on canvas, 31 3/4 x 47 5/8 in. Collection of Christopher Larson

Frederic Edwin Church, The Evening Star, 1858. Oil on canvas, 7 ¾ x 10 ½ in. Collection of Marshall Field. Photograph by James Prinz Photography, Chicago.

Memories in the Landscape

Afterglow: Frederic Church and the Landscape of Memory, shows how art and the natural world can be a source of reflection, peace, and beauty. Olana is both a family home and an artist’s creation, made up of 250 acres of designed landscape that frame breathtaking views. Listen to Olana’s community members share memories of Olana’s landscape and hear how this place is connected to meaningful recollections, memories of loved ones, and important milestones.

Share your Olana memory by calling 518-750-6747.

Olana as a Landscape of Memory

In creating Olana around the views, which Frederic Church also painted, the views from Olana remain today as a memorial to Church’s world.  That’s why we protect them.  Olana is now Church’s ultimate memorial painting. 

Dedicate a Bench

Photographic print, "Louis Church Seated on Rustic Bench," 1885-1895 c.
Paper, cardboard
8 x 10 inches, New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation
Olana State Historic Site

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The Olana Partnership is very grateful to the generous lenders and funders who have made it possible to bring together the majority of Church’s memorial landscapes at Olana, including the Asbjorn Lunde Foundation and the Felicia Fund. We are particularly appreciative of the Asbjorn Lunde Foundation’s funding of the corresponding publication, which continues Mr. Lunde’s legacy of support for Olana, including serving as a trustee of The Olana Partnership.

The Olana Partnership is the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit cooperative partner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation at Olana State Historic Site. This exhibition has been made possible by support from private donors to The Olana Partnership and the in-kind contributions of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and New York State Bureau of Historic Sites. The exhibition design was developed by César Zapata.

General support for The Olana Partnership’s programs is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.