SPECTACLE: Frederic Church and the Business of Art

November 19, 2023 – March 31, 2024

Sharp Family Gallery | Olana State Historic Site

Organized by The Olana Partnership



Frederic Church’s The Heart of the Andes was the pinnacle of his critical and popular success as America’s preeminent landscape artist and now holds center stage at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s American Wing. Spectacle: Frederic Church and the Business of Art combines immersive video technology with the wealth of Olana State Historic Site’s archival holdings to demonstrate how Church’s art responded to the most advanced scientific thought of his day and reached a broad public audience, the largest of any 19th-century American artist.

This special exhibition responds to two frequently asked questions by visitors to Olana: How did people experience Frederic Church’s major paintings in the 19th century, and how did the artist Frederic Church make enough money to create Olana? 



Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826–1900). Heart of the Andes, 1859. Oil on canvas, 66 1/8 x 119 1/4 in. (168 x 302.9 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Bequest of Margaret E. Dows, 1909 (09.95)


John W. Oliver (New York, active 19th century)
Poster for Church’s Painting, The Heart of the Andes, 1859
Block print, 10.5 x 13.5 in.
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Olana State Historic Site. OL.1986.639


Click here to read the transcript for the sale of “Heart of the Andes.”

Click here to listen to “The Andes : Marche di Bravura” (1863) by George William Warren


Click here to view and register for a full listing of upcoming events.



The Olana Partnership acknowledges its debt to Dr. Kevin J. Avery for his scholarship on Heart of the Andes in conjunction with The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition Church’s Great Picture, The Heart of the Andes of 1993-1994.

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.