The Old Man and the Artists

Presented as part of our 2023 An Enduring Presence: The Old Man of the Mountain Event Series. This event is supported by a grant from New Hampshire Humanities Community Project Grants.

The striking image of the Old Man of the Mountain, silhouetted against blue skies, or emerging suddenly, haloed by clouds, captivated visitors to Franconia Notch for nearly two centuries.  For nearly as long, professional and amateur artists sought to capture the impressive and peculiar details of the natural curiosity. From large painted canvases to affordable stereographs in every parlor, images of the Old Man were ubiquitous in 19th century homes. Inez McDermott will discuss the artists who sketched, painted and photographed the icon and how these images resonated with the public.  We will look at paintings by Albert Bierstadt, David Johnson, Edward Hill and Samuel Lancaster Gerry, among others, as well as the first photograph taken of the Profile in 1841 and the prevalence of the photographic image well into the 20th century.

Inez McDermott is Senior Professor of Art History at New England College where she has taught since 2000. Her research interests focus on historical and contemporary New Hampshire art and artists with a particular interest in 19th century photography. She has curated major exhibitions at museums in the region, including A House of Dreams Untold, the story of the MacDowell Colony, at the New Hampshire Historical Society in 1996, was co-curator of Mount Washington, The Crown of New England, (2017) at the Currier Museum in Manchester, NH.

Inez has served on arts and humanities boards in the state, and currently serves as a board member and Exhibition Committee chair for the Saint-Gaudens’ Memorial, which supports the work of the only national park dedicated to an artist, in Cornish, NH.

This is a hybrid event. Registration for Zoom is required. Please register here.

Event Details


Thursday, June 15, 2023 7:00pm


Museum of the White Mountains
34 Highland Street
Plymouth NH 03264

Hosted By:

Museum of the White Mountains

Contact Info:

Museum of the White Mountains,