The Arcadian Ideal, a reaction to the artificiality of the 17th and 18th century European Baroque, was part of the romantic view that sent waves of emigres to the new land of America. Transposed to the new world, "Arcadia"became the Hudson River Valley and later the nearby wilderness refuge and geological formations of the northeastern segment of the continent.
Robert Henri, John Marin, Marsden Hartley, Milton Avery, Fairfield Porter, Alex Katz and others provided markers of their own experience to those across the 20th century who sough to escape urban crowding, pollution and chaos. They are linked spiritually by their respect for the empty marshes, forests teeming with wildlife and the isolated coastlines of the Northeast. These artists inadvertently established a way of life for their contemporaries which, as can be seen every summer, continues to this day as urban-dwelling vacationers wind their way up U.S. Route 1A.
Neil Welliver, painter and printmaker, employing the theories about color prevalent at the end of the 20th century, and Melville McLean, color photographer, perfecting the newest technology in his idiom, continue the tradition of Maine landscape imagery.