Joseph Squillante/Icons of the Hudson: Portrait of a River

On View May 19–September 13, 2009

Highlands Nook, 2000, C print © Joseph Squillante, 2000

Joseph Squillante/Icons of the Hudson: Portrait of a River includes more than 20 photographs of iconic sites along the Hudson River from its source on Mount Marcy, the highest in the State, to a night view from atop the World Trade Center. Joseph Squillante explores the River’s majesty in photographs that reveal nature’s embodiment of Emerson’s Transcendentalist spirit and broadly reflect the aesthetic strategies of the 19th-century Hudson River School painters. In his images, man and nature co-exist. While the River and its bounty provide opportunities for both work and leisure, Squillante’s project serves as a reminder that those who live and work along its shores today must take responsibility for its future.

Pete Seeger at the Strawberry Festival in his hometown Beacon, 2000 pigment print © Joseph Squillante, 2000

For more than thirty years, the Peekskill-based photographer has created images that educate the public about the River’s natural wonders and has brought attention to efforts to preserve it for future generations. Romantic and pastoral views include such iconic locations as Bannerman Castle, the haunting ruins of a Scottish mansion built in the early 20th century, and Storm King Mountain, which sparked the modern day environmentalist movement in the Hudson Valley. His portraits of the people who ply their trade along the River and in the Hudson Valley, such as Claude Potts an apple farmer, Everett Nack a shad fisherman and famed folk singer Pete Seeger, reflect traditions carried on from generation to generation. Squillante’s photographs have been called icons, suggesting that they are lasting and enduring symbols that define the essential character of the river. These icons also indicate sacred sites with complex meanings whose stories the photographer conveys through his awe-inspiring black and white images. The nuanced contrasts and sharply defined details of his traditional gelatin silver prints and more contemporary digital Iris and pigment prints capture the beauty of his subjects and add to the impact they have on the viewer.

Clearwater Bow & Liberstad (Argentina), July 4, 2000, Op Sail, Parade of Tall Ships, 2000, pigment print © Joseph Squillante, 2000

Squillante is a well-respected figure in the Hudson River community. As has long been recognized, his photographic skills combined with a concern for the River have allowed him to capture the remarkable beauty and awesome power of the icons of the Hudson. Squillante has been part of the conservation and stewardship efforts of such organizations as Riverkeeper, Clearwater and Scenic Hudson, which recognized him as a “Hudson Valley Hero.” He and his wife, Carol Capobianco, founded the Hudson River School of Photography, cultivating an appreciation for the Hudson through workshops, slide presentations, in-classroom talks, lessons, exhibitions, and note cards and prints. “As I reach out and share my work, I meet many people who also love the river,” Squillante has said. “My aim is to nurture and expand this community. I believe that a greater appreciation of this natural resource will lead to a better understanding of its importance. The Hudson is a universal subject and a continual source of inspiration.”

Adirondack High Peaks from Mount Marcy, 1981, pigment print © Joseph Squillante, 1981

During the Hudson River Quadricentennial, Squillante’s work will also be on view in a solo exhibition: Life Along the Hudson at the Albany Institute of History and Art (June 20 – Oct. 4, 2009). Icons of the Hudson: Portrait of a River will travel to The Field Library in Peekskill (opening on September 20). His work will also appear in the group exhibitions: Dutch New York: The Roots of Hudson Valley Culture at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers (June 13, 2009 – Jan. 10, 2010), Hudson River Panorama: 400 Years of History, Art and Culture at the Albany Institute of History and Art (Feb. 7 – Jan. 3, 2010), and a show of abstractions at Maxwell Fine Arts in Peekskill (opening in September 2009).

Situated on 19 acres overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades, the Hebrew Home is a steward of the Hudson River’s majestic beauty. This year marks the four-hundredth anniversary of Henry Hudson’s remarkable voyage to the “New World” when he sailed for the Dutch East India Company. The trip led to his discovery of the magnificent river which now bears his name.

As a member of the American Association of Museums, The Hebrew Home at Riverdale is  committed to publicly exhibiting its art collection throughout its 32-acre campus including the Derfner Judaica Museum and a sculpture garden overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades. The Derfner Judaica Museum + The Art Collection provide educational and cultural programming for residents of the Hebrew Home, their families and the general public from throughout New York City, its surrounding suburbs and visitors from elsewhere. The Home is a nonprofit, non-sectarian geriatric organization serving more than 11,000 elderly persons in greater New York through its resources and community service programs. Museum hours: Sunday – Thursday, 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Art Collection and grounds open daily, 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Call 718 581-1596 for holiday hours and to schedule group tours, or for further information please visit our website at

This exhibition is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.