Friday, June 26, 2015

Thomas Cole

Home in the Woods
oil on canvas
112.7 × 168 cm   
Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Winston-Salem, NC, USA

Thomas Cole (1801-1848) was an American artist. He is best known for his work as an American landscape artist. However, he also produced thousands of sketches of varying subject matter. Over 2,500 of these sketches can be seen at The Detroit Institute of Arts. He is regarded as the founder of the Hudson River School, an American art movement that flourished in the mid-19th century. His 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 romanticism.

He was born in Bolton, Lancashire, England. In 1818 his family emigrated to the United States, settling in Ohio. Moving to Pittsburgh in 1823 and then to Philadelphia in 1824, he rejoined his parents and sister in New York City early in 1825. In 1826, he helped found the National Academy of Design. 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 in 1848. The fourth highest peak in the Catskills is named Thomas Cole Mountain in his honor. Cedar Grove, also known as the Thomas Cole House, was declared a National Historic Site in 1999 and is now open to the public.