- Thomas Cole
name = Thomas Cole
imagesize = 90
caption = Thomas Cole, ca. 1844-48
birthdate = birth date|1801|2|1
Bolton, Lancashire, England
deathdate = death date and age|1848|2|11|1801|2|1
deathplace = Catskill,
nationality = English
field = painting
Hudson River School
influenced by =
Asher B. Durandand Frederic Edwin Church
Thomas Cole (
February 1, 1801- February 11, 1848) was a 19th century American artist. He is regarded as the founder of the Hudson River School, an American art movement that flourished in the mid-19th century. Cole's Hudson River School, as well as his own work, was known for its realistic and detailed portrayal of American landscape and wilderness, which feature themes of romanticismand naturalism.
Early life and education
He was born in
Bolton, Lancashire, England. In 1818 his family emigrated to the United States, settling in Steubenville, Ohio, where Cole learned the rudiments of his profession from a wandering portrait painter named Stein. However, he had little success painting portraits, and his interest shifted to landscape. Moving to Pittsburgh in 1823 and then to Philadelphia in 1824, where he drew from casts at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, he rejoined his parents and sister in New York Cityearly in 1825.
In New York he sold three paintings to George W. Bruen, who financed a summer trip to the
Hudson Valleywhere he visited the Catskill Mountain Houseand painted the ruins of Fort Putnam. [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1026/is_5_166/ai_n8700481 Thomas Cole's View of Fort Putnam | Magazine Antiques | Find Articles at BNET ] ] [http://hamiltonauctiongalleries.com/COLE-T25FP.jpg] Returning to New York he displayed three landscapes in the window of a bookstore; according to the New York Evening Post, [ [http://hamiltonauctiongalleries.com/Cole.htm Thomas Cole ] ] this garnered Cole the attention of John Trumbull, Asher B. Durand, and William Dunlap. Trumbull was especially impressed with the work of the young artist and sought him out, bought one of his paintings, and put him into contact with a number of his wealthy friends including Robert Gilmor of Baltimoreand Daniel Wadsworthof Hartford, who became important patrons of the artist.
Cole was primarily a painter of landscapes, but he also painted allegorical works. The most famous of these are the five-part series,
The Course of Empire, now in the collection of the New York Historical Societyand the four-part The Voyage of Life. There are two versions of the latter, one at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., the other at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institutein Utica, New York.
Cole influenced his artistic peers, especially
Asher B. Durandand Frederic Edwin Church, who studied with Cole from 1844 to 1846. Cole spent the years 1829 to 1832 and 1841-1842 abroad, mainly in Englandand Italy; in Florence he lived with the sculptor Horatio Greenough.
After 1827 he maintained a studio at the farm called Cedar Grove in the town of Catskill, New York. He painted a significant portion of his work in this studio. In 1836 he married Maria Bartow of Catskill, a niece of the owner, and became a year-round resident. He died at Catskill on
February 11, 1848. The fourth highest peak in the Catskills is named Thomas Cole Mountainin his honor. [ [http://www.thomascole.org/learn_history.htm Cedar Grove History] ] Cedar Grove, also known as the Thomas Cole House, was declared a National Historic Sitein 1999.cite web|url=http://www.thomascole.org/learn_history.htm |title=History of Cedar Grove |accessdate=2007-10-30|work=|publisher=The Thomas Cole National Historic Site]
Cole dabbled in architecture, a not uncommon practice at the time when the profession was not so codified. Cole was an entrant in the design competition held in 1838 to create a new state government building in
Columbus, Ohio. His entry won third premium, and many contend that the finished building, a composite of the first, second and third place entries, bears a great similarity to Cole's entry.
Hudson River School
The Voyage of Life
The Course of Empire
List of Hudson River School artists
* [http://www.catskill-3500-club.org/catskill-peaks/thomas-cole.htm Hiking Thomas Cole Mountain] Catskill 3500 Club
* [http://www.thomascole.org/ Cedar Grove - The Thomas Cole National Historical Site in Catskill, NY]
* [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=9365212 Find-A-Grave profile for Thomas Cole]
* [http://www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org/Search/collectionresultsitemdetail.aspx?OID=44152 Works by Thomas Cole at the Cincinnati Art Museum]
* [http://whitemountainart.com/ArtistGalleries/gal_tc.htm White Mountain paintings by Thomas Cole]
* Information about Thomas Cole can be found in the [http://www.albanyinstitute.org/collections/library/Research_and_Resources/FindingAids/Cole%20CV553.pdf Thomas Cole Collection] , which contains correspondence, financial and legal documents, clippings, exhibition catalogs, poems related to him and his family, in the [http://www.albanyinstitute.org/z-%20AIHA%20website/6-library/library.main.htm Albany Institute of History & Art Library] .
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