Exhibit: Composing a City: What's Your Landscape?

Offit Gallery, Third Floor


"Composing a City" consists of selected pieces from the Teachers College Archive. These pieces taken from the Students of Arthur Welsey Dow, Ziegfeld Collection of International Children's Art, and Frederico Castellon Memorial Print collections depict scenes of urban life.


Urban populations contribute to a city’s aesthetic and identity by providing an eclectic combination of elements based on social, cultural, political, and economic needs. Although the elements that outline identity of a city may change, the need for organization or balance makes its landscape a composition, a concept that was spread by the former head of Teachers College art department, Arthur Dow. Dow published the influential book “Composition” in 1899, stressing harmonization by manipulating line, color, and tonal relationships within a composition. The book was not only used by Teachers College students at the turn of the 20th century, but across the nation due to the widespread influence of Teachers College, especially among American modernist painters. 


City identities are often represented by their landscapes. Consider the iconic skylines of New York City, Chicago, or San Francisco, where each landscape contains different arrangements of line, color, and tonal representation that reflect their unique identities. Harmony within a city is represented in these compositions of landscapes, but there is more to be seen between the lines. According to Dow’s theory on composition, harmony is achieved in composition when it is counterbalanced by disharmonies. Cultural disharmonies such as low socioeconomic status can bring negative outcomes including overcrowding, lack of resources, and high mortality rates. This exhibit explores the balances, identities and relationships between landscapes and the life within.


When looking at the different artworks, think about how each artist organized and balanced certain elements to compose a landscape. Which pieces provide a sense of harmony or balance to your lifestyle and personality? What’s your landscape?


For more information see the rhizr Offit Gallery Summer 2018.


Where: Offit Gallery, Third Floor

When: mid June through August




The Federico Castellon Memorial Print Collection comprises 78 prints donated to Teachers College by established printmakers throughout the United States under the aegis of the Society of American Graphic Artists.


The Students of Arthur Wesley Dow Collection contains 300 collected works created by Teachers College students studying under Professor Dow in the early 1900's. Mostly paintings and prints, the works in the Collection clearly illustrate Dow's theories and approach to art.


The Ziegfeld Collection of International Children's Art comprises about 350 paintings, drawings, prints and collages made by adolescents aged 10 to 18 from 32 countries across the world. The Collection was originated in the 1950's by Dr. Edwin Ziegfeld (1905-1983), the creator of the arts and education program at Teachers College.


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Last Updated: 2:29 pm, Thursday, Jun 14 , 2018