New York audiences will have a unique opportunity this fall to see a remarkable collection of small-scale landscape oil sketches that are on public view for the first time. A Brush with Nature: The Gere Collection of Landscape Oil Sketches is on display at The Frick Collection from September 12 through November 12, 2000, the second stop in a tour that originated in 1999 at London's National Gallery amid critical acclaim. Created by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century artists working out of doors, these pleinair sketches were painted quickly -- the artists often spent no more than two hours on a work -- and attempted to capture subtle atmospheric effects and the fleeting play of light. The pictures, many painted on paper, were not conceived of as finished works of arts, but offered an opportunity to test and sharpen skills. These sketches were rarely, if ever, exhibited during the painters' lifetimes, and were often kept in the studio for later consultation. Nonetheless, such works played a vital role in the visual training of generations of European artists, and by the end of the eighteenth century, the art of sketching in oil had become recognized by artists as a valid occupation in its own right. This exhibition represents an important milestone in the study and understanding of the painted oil sketch in the European tradition.