Thomas Cole (1801-1848)
Founder of the Hudson River School of painting. Thomas Cole was born in 1801 at Bolton, Lancashire in Northwestern England and emigrated with his family to the United States in 1818. In 1825, Cole discovered the haunting beauty of the Catskill wilderness. His exhibition of small paintings of Catskill landscapes came to the attention of prominent figures on the New York City art scene and his fame spread. Shortly after returning from a visit to Europe in 1832, Cole established his rural studio in Catskill, New York, when he rented a small cottage at Cedar Grove, now the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. On November 22, 1836, Thomas Cole and Maria Bartow, niece and ward of the owner of Cedar Grove, were married in the West Parlor of the Main House, which became Cole's home. In March of 1839, Cole began work on four paintings to be called “The Voyage of Life”; for Samuel Ward, a wealthy banker and philanthropist. These paintings, along with the five-painting series, “The Course of Empire”; would become some of his best known and loved works. Thomas Cole died at Cedar Grove on February 11th, 1848.
Visit the places that Cole painted on the Art Trail:
Albany from the East Side of River
Catskill Mountain House
Hudson River Skywalk
Storm King from Long Dock Park
Crawford Notch Across Saco Lake
Painting: Asher B. Durand, Portrait of Thomas Cole (detail), 1838, oil on canvas, 30 1/4 x 25 in., Gift of Zenas Crane, 1917, Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA.