Site #3 Catskill Creek (from Atelier Restaurant Bar)
Introduction by Kevin J. Avery, Senior Research Scholar, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Winding over thirty miles from the Schoharie hills to the Hudson River, Catskill Creek never attracted the tourism or the artistic interest that its tributary, Kaaterskill Creek, did. But for the one artist who made the village of Catskill his home, Catskill Creek was his favorite painting subject. Thomas Cole painted Catksill Creek no less than ten times, with his first painting of the creek completed in 1827.
View on the Catskill was commissioned by Jonathan Sturges, who asked Cole to paint the creek as he wished it might look. Approximating the view from Snake Road in the area known as "Jefferson Heights," Cole painted a pastoral creek scene out of a mythic past. In reality, Catskill Creek in the 1830s was the focus of intense industrialization and development. In 1836, for example, the creek was lined with "16 grist mills, 26 sawmills, 8 fulling mills, 7 carding machines, 1 woolen factory, 2 iron works, 1 trip hammer, 10 tanneries, 2 paper mills and a brewery."
When 18-year-old Frederic Church arrived in Catskill in 1844 to study painting with Thomas Cole, Cole brought the young student on sketching trips to his favorite sites around Catskill, including Catskill Creek. Although Church later moved on to new subjects, it was Catskill Creek that took center stage when Church first introduced himself to New York's art scene. At an exhibition at the National Academy of Design on April 17, 1845, Church made his public debut with two paintings of his teacher's favorite spot on Catskill Creek.
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Meets most ADA standards and has few barriers. Some visitors with disabilities may need some assistance
Open all seasons
Map & Directions
Driving Directions: We recommend Google Map . Site coordinates: 42.223621 Lat., -73.887604 Long.
Location Notes: From Trail Site 1 (the Thomas Cole Site), turn right out of the parking lot to the corner of Spring Street and Route 23. Turn left onto Route 23 West, go 1/2 mile and turn left onto Route 9W South. Proceed 1000 feet on 9W, past the ramp to Jefferson Heights, to the bridge crossing the Catskill Creek. The classic view of the Catskill Creek with the mountains in the distance can be seen from the bridge or from the property of Atelier Restaurant.Bar on the north side of the bridge.
Photo / Painting Credits
Thomas Cole. View on the Catskill, Early Autumn. Oil on canvas, 1836-37, 39 x 63 in. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Gift in memory of Jonathan Sturges by his children, 1895, 95.13.3.
Anonymous. Catskill Creek Today. Photograph, undated. © Thomas Cole National Historic Site.
Frederic Edwin Church. The Catskill Creek. Oil on panel, 1845, 11 7/8 x 16 in. Olana State Historic Site, Hudson, NY. New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, 1980.1873.
Thomas Cole. River in the Catskills. Oil on canvas, 1843, 27 ½ x 40 3/8 in. Museum of Fine Arts (Boston). Gift of Martha C. Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815-1865, 47.1201.
Frederic Edwin Church. Twilight Among the Mountains (Catskill Creek). Oil on canvas, 1845, 18 ½ x 24 in. Olana State Historic Site, Hudson, NY. New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, OL.1981.25.
Thomas Cole. Catskill Creek. Oil on canvas, 1845, 38 ¾ x 26 1/3 in. New-York Historical Society. The Robert L. Stuart Collection, S-157.
Thomas Cole. Study for Catskill Creek. Oil on wood, c.1844-45, 12 x 18 in. National Gallery of Art. Avalon Fund, 1998.67.1.
Thomas Cole. On Catskill Creek. Oil on panel, c. 1845-47, 9 ¼ × 14 ¾ in. Private Collection.
Anonymous. Austin's Glen Hope Mill, A. Austin & Son, Catskill. Copy of an old advertisement, undated, 3 ½ x 5 in. Vedder Library, GCHS, Coxsackie, NY 16-001, 16-001.