How Did Thomas Cole Influence American Landscape Painters

732 Words3 Pages

May 2015
Honors American Literature
Mrs. Phillips

Thomas Cole was a painter who influenced the American landscape painters of his time and is the founding father of the Hudson River School. Cole was born on February 1,1801 in Bolten-le-Moors, Lancashire, England. When he was seventeen, in 1818, his family immigrated to the United States from England. The Cole family first lived in Philadelphia, where Thomas worked as a wood engraver. After Philadelphia, Cole lived in Steubenville, Ohio, where his father had previously established a wallpaper manufacturing business. Unhappy with his father’s business, Thomas began a career as itinerant artist, painting portraits, genre paintings, and a some landscapes. From there he then set out …show more content…

Cole made the trip up the Hudson River, up to the eastern Catskill Mountains. He was determined to become a landscape painter after his period of itinerant portrait painting in Ohio and Pennsylvania.When he was in New York in late 1825, Cole headed to the Catskills. Along the way, he started making sketches of the Catskills and along the banks of the Hudson River. There, Cole discovered the powerful beauty of the Catskill wilderness. He produced a series of paintings, which when exhibited, the small paintings of Catskill landscapes came to the attention of important figures on the New York City art scene, including Asher B. Durand, who became a life-long friend, and his fame spread. During this period, Cole began his relationship with a man named Luman Reed. Reed was a native of Coxsackie, New York. Luman Reed was a successful merchant. He had moved to New York City and opened a private art gallery. He became Cole's patron. Cole produced one of his best-known series of paintings for Reed. This series is known as "The Course of Empire." In 1836, Cole's father and his patron Luman Reed died, but on November 22, 1836, Thomas Cole and Maria Bartow were married. They were married in the west parlor at Cedar Grove, which then became Cole's home. The couple was given a suite of rooms on the second floor of the house. Great painters and literary figures of Cole’s day began to visit Thomas and …show more content…

Painters did not paint the mountains, streams, vistas, valleys, or the unlimited frontier. Nature became the subject of his canvas as America's national myth and new identity developed. Cole became the spiritual father of the wilderness landscape artists. His early subjects were the Hudson River Valley and the Catskill Mountains, full of beautiful scenery, waterfalls, and primal

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