Venetian Scenes by Walter Launt Palmer

December 15, 2007–June 1, 2008

Venetian Scenes by Walter Launt Palmer

December 15, 2007–June 1, 2008

In the late-nineteenth century, American artists were drawn to Venice, and the Albany- born artist Walter Launt Palmer was no exception. Although his first visit occurred in 1874, it was not until 1881 that Palmer began to paint the city and its environs in earnest. Concentrating on the landmarks around and near the Piazza San Marco, the Grand Canal, and San Giorgio, he was able to capture the serene quality of Venice in an evolving Impressionist style that appealed to his American customers. Palmer painted more than 100 Venetian subjects, which were in demand from the late 1880s to the early 1900s.

During his productive and lucrative sixty-year career, Palmer painted landscapes of all seasons including his color-filled impressionistic snow scenes, detailed interior views of Victorian homes, and luminous Venetian scenes. Palmer was a master of mediums, working well in oil, watercolor, pastel, and mixed media. Above all, he was a gifted colorist.

This exhibition includes ten Venetian scenes along with a selection of letters, photographs, diaries, and other related materials drawn from the museum's collection.

The Albany Institute would like to thank Hawthorne Fine Art, LLC, of New York City for funding the conservation of Interior, San Marco.

Major support for this exhibition has been provided by James and Barbara Hoehn.


The character and culture of Albany and the Upper Hudson Valley have roots in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the early inhabitants of the region, their beliefs, relationships, and interactions.

This exhibition looks at those diverse peoples who shaped colonial Albany and the objects that reflect their interests, values, commercial, and social interactions. The values they held and culture they shaped have defined us today as Americans.

The exhibition is organized around four themes:

  • Trade, Commerce, and Conflict
  • Cultures
  • Life and Work
  • Social Identity

Highlights include limner portraits (likenesses made by self-taught painters), Albany-made silver, branded furniture, ceramics, textiles, maps and manuscript materials with documented family histories.


Programmatic and exhibition support is made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.

Season exhibition support is provided by Phoebe Powell Bender, Mr. and Mrs. George R. Hearst III, Charles M. Liddle III, Lois and David Swawite, and the Carl E. Touhey Foundation, Inc.