Thomas Cole

Last updated

Thomas Cole
Thomas Cole.jpg
Thomas Cole, 1846
Born(1801-02-01)February 1, 1801
Bolton, Lancashire, England
DiedFebruary 11, 1848(1848-02-11) (aged 47)
Catskill, New York, United States of America
NationalityEnglish, American
Known forPainting Medium/Media: Oil on Canvas
Notable work
The Titan's Goblet (1833), The Course of Empire (1833–36), The Oxbow (1836), The Voyage of Life (1842)
Movement Hudson River School
The Oxbow (The Connecticut River near Northampton) (1836) Cole Thomas The Oxbow (The Connecticut River near Northampton 1836).jpg
The Oxbow (The Connecticut River near Northampton) (1836)
The Course of Empire (1833-1836) EdentoEmpire.gif
The Course of Empire (1833–1836)

Thomas Cole (February 1, 1801 – February 11, 1848) was an English-born American painter known for his landscape and history paintings. One of the major 19th-century American painters, he is regarded as the founder of the Hudson River School, [1] [2] an American art movement that flourished in the mid-19th century. Cole's work is known for its romantic portrayal of the American wilderness. [3]

Contents

Early life and education

Born in Bolton le Moors, Lancashire, in 1801, Cole emigrated with his family to the United States in 1818, settling in Steubenville, Ohio. At the age of 22, Cole moved to Philadelphia and later, in 1825, to Catskill, New York, where he lived with his wife and children until 1848. [4]

Cole found work early on as an engraver. He was largely self-taught as a painter, relying on books and by studying the work of other artists. In 1822, Cole started working as a portrait painter and later on, gradually shifted his focus to landscape. [5]

Painting

The Titan's Goblet (1833), Oil on canvas; 49 x 41 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Cole, Thomas - Der Pokal des Riesen - hi res - 1833.JPG
The Titan's Goblet (1833), Oil on canvas; 49 × 41 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

In New York, Cole sold five paintings to George W. Bruen, who financed a summer trip to the Hudson Valley where the artist produced landscapes featuring the Catskill Mountain House, the famous Kaaterskill Falls, the ruins of Fort Putnam, and two views of Cold Spring. [6] [7] Returning to New York, he displayed five landscapes in the window of William Colman's bookstore; according to the New York Evening Post the two views of Cold Spring were purchased by Mr. A. Seton, who lent them to the American Academy of the Fine Arts annual exhibition in 1826. This garnered Cole the attention of John Trumbull, Asher B. Durand, and William Dunlap. Among the paintings was a landscape called View of Fort Ticonderoga from Gelyna. 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 Baltimore and Daniel Wadsworth of 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, which depict the same landscape over generations—from a near state of nature to consummation of empire, and then decline and desolation—now in the collection of the New-York Historical Society and 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 Institute in Utica, New York. Among Cole's other famous works are The Oxbow (1836), The Notch of the White Mountains, Daniel Boone at his cabin at the Great Osage Lake, and Lake with Dead Trees (1825) which is at the Allen Memorial Art Museum. [8] He also painted The Garden of Eden (1828), with lavish detail of Adam and Eve living amid waterfalls, vivid plants, and deer. [9] In 2014, friezes painted by Cole on the walls of his home, which had been decorated over, were discovered. [10]

Cole influenced his artistic peers, especially Asher B. Durand and Frederic Edwin Church, who studied with Cole from 1844 to 1846. Cole spent the years 1829 to 1832 and 1841 to 1842 abroad, mainly in England and Italy.

Other work

Cole is best known for his work as an American landscape artist. In an 1836 [11] article on "American Scenery," [12] he described his complex relationship with the American landscape in esthetic, emotional, and spiritual terms. 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.

In 1842, Cole embarked on a Grand Tour of Europe in an effort to study in the style of the Old Masters and to paint its scenery. Most striking to Cole was Europe's tallest active volcano, Mount Etna. Cole was so moved by the volcano's beauty that he produced several sketches and at least six paintings of it. [13] The most famous of these works is A View from Mount Etna from Taormina which is a 78-by-120-inch (1,980 by 3,050 mm) oil on canvas. Cole also produced a highly detailed sketch View of Mount Etna (pictured below) which shows a panoramic view of the volcano with the crumbling walls of the ancient Greek theater of Taormina on the far right.

Cole was also a poet and 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 the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. His entry won third place, 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. [14]

Personal life

After 1827 Cole 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's, and became a year-round resident. Thomas and Maria had five children. [15] Cole's sister, Sarah Cole, was also a landscape painter; the two were close.

Additionally, Cole held many friendships with important figures in the art world including Daniel Wadsworth, with whom he shared a close friendship. Proof of this friendship can be seen in the letters that were unearthed in the 1980s by the Trinity College Watkinson Library. Cole emotionally wrote Wadsworth in July 1832: "Years have passed away since I saw you & time & the world have undoubtedly wrought many changes in both of us; but the recollection of your friendship... have never faded in my mind & I look at those pleasures as "flowers that never will in other garden grow-" [16] Thomas Cole died at Catskill on February 11, 1848. The fourth highest peak in the Catskills is named Thomas Cole Mountain in his honor. [17] Cedar Grove, also known as the Thomas Cole House, was declared a National Historic Site in 1999 and is now open to the public. [18]

Selected works

See also

Related Research Articles

George Inness 19th-century American landscape painter

George Inness was a prominent American landscape painter.

Frederic Edwin Church American landscape painter

Frederic Edwin Church was an American landscape painter born in Hartford, Connecticut. He was a central figure in the Hudson River School of American landscape painters, best known for painting large landscapes, often depicting mountains, waterfalls, and sunsets. Church's paintings put an emphasis on realistic detail, dramatic light, and panoramic views. He debuted some of his major works in single-painting exhibitions to a paying and often enthralled audience in New York City. In his prime, he was one of the most famous painters in the United States.

Hudson River School American art movement

The Hudson River School was a mid-19th century American art movement embodied by a group of landscape painters whose aesthetic vision was influenced by Romanticism. The paintings typically depict the Hudson River Valley and the surrounding area, including the Catskill, Adirondack, and White Mountains. Works by the second generation of artists associated with the school expanded to include other locales in New England, the Maritimes, the American West, and South America.

Asher Brown Durand American painter

Asher Brown Durand was an American painter of the Hudson River School.

John Frederick Kensett American artist

John Frederick Kensett was an American landscape painter and engraver born in Cheshire, Connecticut. A member of the second generation of the Hudson River School of artists, Kensett's signature works are landscape paintings of New England and New York State, whose clear light and serene surfaces celebrate transcendental qualities of nature, and are associated with Luminism. Kensett's early work owed much to the influence of Thomas Cole, but was from the outset distinguished by a preference for cooler colors and an interest in less dramatic topography, favoring restraint in both palette and composition. The work of Kensett's maturity features tranquil scenery depicted with a spare geometry, culminating in series of paintings in which coastal promontories are balanced against glass-smooth water. He was a founder of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Thomas Doughty was an American artist associated with the Hudson River School.

Sanford Robinson Gifford American painter

Sanford Robinson Gifford was an American landscape painter and one of the leading members of the Hudson River School. Gifford's landscapes are known for their emphasis on light and soft atmospheric effects, and he is regarded as a practitioner of Luminism, an offshoot style of the Hudson River School.

Homer Dodge Martin American painter

Homer Dodge Martin was an American artist, particularly known for his landscape paintings. Examples of Martin's work are in many important American museums.

<i>Kindred Spirits</i> (painting)

Kindred Spirits (1849) is a painting by Asher Brown Durand, a member of the Hudson River School of painters. It depicts the painter Thomas Cole, who had died in 1848, and his friend, the poet William Cullen Bryant, in the Catskill Mountains. The landscape painting, which combines geographical features in Kaaterskill Clove and a minuscule depiction of Kaaterskill Falls, is not a literal depiction of American geography. Rather, it is an idealized memory of Cole's discovery of the region more than twenty years prior, his friendship with Bryant, and his ideas about American nature.

Daniel Wadsworth American artist and collector

Daniel Wadsworth (1771–1848) of Hartford, Connecticut, was an American amateur artist and architect, arts patron and traveler. He is most remembered as the founder of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in his native city.

David Johnson (American artist) American painter

David Johnson was a member of the second generation of Hudson River School painters.

<i>The Oxbow</i> painting by Thomas Cole

View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm, commonly known as The Oxbow, is a seminal landscape painting by Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School. The painting depicts a Romantic panorama of the Connecticut River Valley just after a thunderstorm. It has been interpreted as a confrontation between wilderness and civilization.

Thomas Cole House United States historic place

The Thomas Cole House, also known as Cedar Grove or the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, is a National Historic Landmark that includes the home and the studio of painter Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School of American painting. It is located at 218 Spring Street, Catskill, NY, United States. The site provided Thomas Cole with a residence and studio from 1833 through his death in 1848.

<i>The Catskills</i> (painting) painting by Asher Brown Durand

The Catskills by Asher Brown Durand, an American engraver, portraitist, and landscape artist, was commissioned by William Thompson Walters in 1858.

Sarah Cole American landscape painter from the 19th Century

Sarah Cole (1805-1857) was an American landscape painter and the sister of prominent American landscape painter Thomas Cole. Many of Cole’s paintings are similar in subject and visuals to her brother’s. Though she was one of the earliest female landscape painters working in the United States, little is known of her life, and very few of her works have survived or can be located today.

<i>Lake with Dead Trees</i> painting by Thomas Cole

Lake with Dead Trees, also known as Catskill, is an oil on canvas painting completed in 1825 by Thomas Cole. Depicting a scene in the Catskill Mountains in southeastern New York State, this work is one of five of Cole's 1825 landscapes to found the mid-19th century American art movement known as the Hudson River School.

Charles Herbert Moore American painter

Charles Herbert Moore was an American university professor, painter, and architectural historian, known as the first director of Harvard University's Fogg Art Museum. He was one of many followers of the works of John Ruskin, and was known as an American Pre-Raphaelite. In 1871, Moore left painting to begin teaching at Harvard, where he led its new art department. There Moore was among the first art historians at an academic institution in the United States. After retirement, Moore moved to Hampshire, England. He wrote many books on medieval and Renaissance architecture there, and died in Hampshire in 1930.

Harriet Cany Peale American painter

Harriet Christina Cany Peale (1799–1869) was an American landscape, portrait, and genre painter of the mid-nineteenth century. Although sometimes described as a copyist, a greater share of her oeuvre has been made public in recent years, allowing Cany Peale to earn recognition for her genre and landscape paintings. She has been located in contemporary scholarship as an artist of the Hudson River School.

Susie M. Barstow

Susie M. Barstow was an American painter associated with the Hudson River School who was known for her luminous landscapes.

Evelina Mount (1837-1920), was an American artist associated with the Hudson River School who is best known for her floral still life paintings.

References

  1. Hanc, John (October 23, 2017). "'Scenes of Solitude' From Hudson River School Artists". The New York Times . Archived from the original on November 28, 2018. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  2. Avery, Kevin J. (October 2004). "The Hudson River School". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Archived from the original on November 28, 2018. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  3. Truettner, William H. (1994). Thomas Cole: Landscape into History. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
  4. Tour brochure, Thomas Cole House, Catskill NY.Truettner, William H.; Wallach, Alan (1994). Thomas Cole Landscape into History. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. p. 8.
  5. Truettner, William H. (1994). Thomas Cole: Landscape into History. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. pp. 25–26.
  6. Effmann, Elise (November 2004). "Thomas Cole's View of Fort Putnam" (PDF). The Magazine Antiques : 154–159. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  7. http://hamiltonauctiongalleries.com/COLE-T25FP.JPG
  8. Brophy, Alfred L. (2009). "Property and Progress: Antebellum Landscape Art and Property Law" (PDF). McGeorge Law Review. 40: 605–59. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  9. Exhibit at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas
  10. Schweber, Nate (July 1, 2015). "Unknown Thomas Cole Paintings Found at His Home". The New York Times. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  11. "American Scenery--Thomas Cole vs NASA".
  12. Cole, Thomas (January 1836). "American Scenery". The American Monthly Magazine. 1 (1): 1–12.
  13. "Studies on Thomas Cole" Baltimore Museum of Art, Annual II. pp. 123. Baltimore, Maryland 1967.
  14. Weidman, Jeffrey; Library, Oberlin College (2000). Artists in Ohio, 1787–1900: A Biographical Dictionary. Kent State University Press. p. 174. ISBN   978-0-87338-616-6.
  15. They were: Theodore Alexander Cole, born January 1, 1838; Mary Bartow Cole, born September 23, 1839; Emily Cole, born August 27, 1843; Elizabeth Cole, born April 5, 1847 (died in infancy); Thomas Cole Jr., born September 16, 1848. ( "A Guide to the Thomas Cole Collection" (PDF). Albany Institute of History and Art. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 20, 2008. Retrieved January 6, 2009.)
  16. Cole, T., & Wadsworth, D. (1983). The correspondence of Thomas Cole and Daniel Wadsworth: Letters in the Watkinson Library, Trinity College, Hartford, and in the New York State Library, Albany, New York. Hartford, Conn.: Connecticut Historical Society.
  17. "Cedar Grove History". Thomascole.org. Archived from the original on January 6, 2014. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  18. "History of Cedar Grove". The Thomas Cole National Historic Site. Archived from the original on October 18, 2007. Retrieved October 30, 2007.

Other sources

  1. Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Cole, Thomas". Encyclopædia Britannica . 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 665.
External video
Thomas Cole - Expulsion from the Garden of Eden - Google Art Project.jpg
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Cole's Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, Smarthistory
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Cole's The Oxbow, Smarthistory