Samuel F.B. Morse's Gallery of the Louvre - SAM - Seattle Art Museum
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Samuel F. B. Morse and the Gallery of the Louvre

Gallery of the Louvre, 1831–33, Samuel F. B. Morse, American, 1791–1872, oil on canvas, 73 ¾ x 108 in. (187.3 x 274.3 cm) Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.51, Photography © Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago.

Samuel F. B. Morse's Gallery of the Louvre

Wed Sep 16 2015 – Sun Jan 10 2016

Seattle Art Museum

Third Floor Galleries

Samuel F. B. Morse (1791–1872) is better known today for his invention of the electromagnetic telegraph—and for "Morse" code—but he began his career as a painter and rose to the Presidency of the National Academy of Design in New York. The monumental Gallery of the Louvre is his masterwork, a canvas he created for the edification of his countrymen. The large painting will be shown in a theatrical setting as the kind of grand public display that Morse himself would have created in 1833.

The beginning of Morse's pioneering efforts into new technologies—namely the electromagnetic telegraph and the medium of photography—can be found in the crafting of this one work of art, Gallery of the Louvre. This piece was Morse's ambitious effort to capture images of the Louvre's great paintings and transport them across the ocean and throughout the country, to the republic's young cities and villages, so that art and culture could grow there.

Gallery of the Louvre, 1831–33, Samuel F. B. Morse, American, 1791–1872, oil on canvas, 73 ¾ x 108 in. (187.3 x 274.3 cm) Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.51. Photography © Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago.

A Closer Look​

Want to take a closer look at Morse’s Gallery of the Louvre? Use the magnifying glass on the image below to explore the expansive and highly detailed painting. ​

 
 
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Figure of Samuel F. B. Morse, at center

Gallery of the Louvre (detail), 1831–33, Samuel F. B. Morse.

Francis I, after Titian, Study for</em> Gallery of the Louvre

Francis I, after Titian, Study for Gallery of the Louvre, 1831-33. Oil on panel, Samuel F. B. Morse, American, 1791-1872, 10 x 8 in. Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago. Gift of Berry-Hill Galleries in honor of Daniel J. Terra, c1984.5.

An artist using a camera obscura in drawing.

An artist using a camera obscura in drawing.

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Gallery of the Louvre (detail), 1831–33, Samuel F. B. Morse.

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Gallery of the Louvre (detail), 1831–33, Samuel F. B. Morse.

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School children visit Horatio Greenough’s statue of George Washington at the U.S. Capitol. Probably 1899. Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952) photographer.

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Gallery of the Louvre (detail), 1831–33, Samuel F. B. Morse.

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Gallery of the Louvre (detail), 1831–33, Samuel F. B. Morse.

Mona Lisa

Gallery of the Louvre (detail), 1831–33, Samuel F. B. Morse.

Gallery of the Louvre Catalogue and Key

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MORSE AND HIS GRAND MASTERWORK, PICK UP A COPY OF THE EXHIBITION CATALOGUE, WITH ESSAYS CURATORS AND CONSERVATORS, AND HISTORIANS OF ART, SOCIETY, AND TECHNOLOGY. (PUBLISHED BY THE TERRA FOUNDATION FOR AMERICAN ART). ADDITIONALLY, CHECK OUT THE ILLUSTRATED GUIDE, WHICH OFFERS AN HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF THE PAINTING WRITTEN BY THE EXHIBITION’S CURATOR, PETER JOHN BROWNLEE, AS WELL AS AN ELABORATE KEY TO THE PICTURES AND PEOPLE IN MORSE’S GALLERY OF THE LOUVRE. (PUBLISHED BY THE TERRA FOUNDATION FOR AMERICAN ART).