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Perry's Victory painting, other War of 1812 art on display at Toledo museum PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Thursday, 08 August 2013 09:07
TOLEDO - The 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie - among the most famous naval encounters of the War of 1812 and the first time a squadron of British ships had ever been captured - will be commemorated with a special exhibition this fall at the Toledo Museum of Art.
"Perry's Victory: The Battle of Lake Erie," a free exhibition on view now through Nov. 10 in Galleries 28 and 29, features paintings, prints, sculpture, artifacts, letters and music on loan and from the museum's permanent collection.
One of the prominent works on view will be the heroically scaled painting Perry's Victory on Lake Erie (1814) by Thomas Birch. The painting depicts the battle moments before the British squadron surrenders to the victorious Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry (1785-1819) in the fall of 1813. The TMA exhibition marks a rare opportunity to see the painting so close to the actual battle site.
Historians often describe the War of 1812 as the Second War of Independence: a reaction to the continuing British attacks on and seizures of American vessels and seamen, and the likely British role in encouraging Native Americans' anger in the northwestern frontier. Not only was the United States' national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," inspired by the war, but victory over Britain also confirmed the young nation's sovereignty.
Some of the most decisive events of the war on the frontier were the naval battles, as command of the Great Lakes was critical for success in the northwest.
One of the most famous victories in American history was achieved at the Battle of Lake Erie on Sept. 10, 1813 by the young Commodore Perry with the capture of a British fleet of six vessels, giving control of the lake and its important transportation routes to the United States.
The centennial of this event was celebrated in 1913 with a major exhibition in the (then) recently completed Toledo Museum of Art building on Monroe Street. Portraits, battle scenes and historical objects were brought together to recognize the event. Yet as large as the exhibition was, a major painting depicting a turning point in the battle-Perry's Victory on Lake Erie by Birch-was not in the show.
As part of the bicentennial observation, TMA secured the loan of the painting from the collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. The outcome of the dramatic battle led to the Americans reclaiming the lake and Perry becoming a hero.
Another highlight of the 2013 exhibition is TMA's striking portrait of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry (1818-28) by Gilbert and Jane Stuart.
Admission to the museum is free. Parking is free for members and $5 for nonmembers.
For more information, visit www.toledomuseum.org or call (419) 255-8000.

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