Dutchess County Executive's Arts Awards 2023

Dutchess County Historical Society for Clowes Exhibit

Art in Public Places

The Dutchess County Historical Society celebrates all aspects of local history. But the organization was particularly excited to celebrate the work of LaGrange’s 19th-century artist Caroline Morgan Clowes in a special exhibit at the Locust Grove Estate in Poughkeepsie last year.

Fertile Ground: the Hudson Valley animal paintings of Caroline Clowes ran in November and December 2022.

Caroline Clowes had to overcome personal tragedy and loss early in life (her mother died when she was two years old) and experienced barriers as a woman wishing to succeed artistically and commercially in a field dominated by men.

Caroline was known for painting farm animals, particularly cattle, from the area near her home in LaGrange. In her paintings there are careful depiction of both the animals and the landscape settings. Her work was exhibited at the National Academy of Design in New York City. Her Two Cattle at the Brook was featured on the most coveted wall in the gallery of American Art at the 1876 US Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.

“We  tend to think that one of the reasons her legacy diminished is because she was a woman doing something outside of the ordinary,” says Bill Jeffway, Executive Director of the Dutchess County Historical Society. “This exhibit offered such amazing insights and lessons into women succeeding in a man’s field. And so we’re hoping to keep the conversation about Carolyn Morgan Clowes going. These awards are another opportunity to talk again about why we feel she was important and how she can be inspirational today.”

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