Picturesque and Sublime:

Thomas Cole’s Trans-Atlantic Inheritance

In Thomas Cole’s New Studio

MAY 1 – NOVEMBER 4, 2018


Exhibition Overview

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Cole’s arrival from England in 1818, the Thomas Cole Site is partnering with the Yale Center for British Art to present the special exhibition Picturesque and Sublime: Thomas Cole’s Trans-Atlantic Inheritance in Thomas Cole’s New Studio. This exhibition is designed to complement the major Cole exhibition at The Met and is curated by Tim Barringer, Paul Mellon Professor in the History of Art at Yale; Gillian Forrester, Senior Curator of European Art at the Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester (and previously at the Yale Center for British Art); Jennifer Raab, Associate Professor of the History of Art at Yale; and two doctoral candidates at Yale, Sophie Lynford and Nicholas Robbins.

Picturesque and Sublime will present masterworks on paper by major British artists, including Turner and Constable, together with significant oil-on-canvas paintings by Thomas Cole to demonstrate Cole’s radical achievement of transforming the well-developed British traditions of landscape representations into a new bold formulation, the American Sublime.

The exhibition is made possible by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, Empire State Development’s I LOVE NEW YORK program under the Market NY initiative, the Greene County Legislature through the County Initiative Program of the Greene County Council on the Arts, and the Kindred Spirits Society of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. The accompanying publication is supported by the Willow Springs Charitable Trust and Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund.

Read the exhibition press release. 

Cover image: Thomas Cole, The Clove, Catskills, Oil on canvas, 1827, 25 ¼ x 35 1/8 in. New Britain Museum of American Art. Charles F. Smith Fund, 1945.22.

Select Exhibition Objects

Thomas Cole, Ruined Tower, 1832-6, Oil on composition board, 26 ¾  x 34 in. Albany Institute of History & Art , 1965.1.

John Constable, Cloud Study (Landscape at Hampstead, Trees and Storm Clouds), c. 1821. Oil on paper laid on card, 8 x 10 ¾ in. Yale Center for British Art, B1981.25.148.

Thomas Cole, Button Wood Tree, 1823, Ink on paper, 13 ½ x 16 7/8 in. Albany Institute of History and Art, 1958.28.36.

Charles Turner, after J.M.W. Turner, Norham Castle on the Tweed, 1816, Etching and mezzotint, 11 1/4 x 16 7/8 in. Yale Center for British Art, B1977.14.8173.

Jennifer GreimPicturesque and Sublime