What is the Hudson River School?

In the early 19th century, many in this country were searching for a style of art that they could call their own – something uniquely American. Thomas Cole (1801-1848) responded to this quest by creating landscape paintings unlike any yet seen.

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Biography of Thomas Cole

Thomas Cole was born in 1801 at Bolton, Lancashire in Northwestern England and emigrated with his family to the United States in 1818. During the early years Cole lived for short periods in Philadelphia, Ohio, and Pittsburgh where he worked as an itinerant portrait artist. Although primarily self-taught, Cole worked with members of the Philadelphia Academy, and his canvases were included in the Academy’s exhibitions.

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The Home of Thomas Cole

Thomas Cole came to the village of Catskill for the first time in 1825 on a sketching trip. He returned in subsequent years, eventually boarding at Cedar Grove, a farm owned by the local merchant, John A. Thomson. Initially, Cole was at Cedar Grove in the summers only, but in 1836 he made it his permanent home when he married one of Mr. Thomson’s nieces, Maria Bartow.

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Browse our video page and hear from contemporary artists who are following in the tradition of the Hudson River School, or catch a Sunday Salon lecture that you missed, or learn about the ongoing restoration of Thomas Cole’s home and studios.

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Explore Thomas Cole’s Paintings

Explore and zoom in on over 140 Thomas Cole artworks and take an interactive tour of his most iconic paintings.

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For Collectors

If you own a special work of art, you are part of a long tradition of patrons and collectors that have supported artists and derived great pleasure from their masterworks. Here at the Thomas Cole Historic Site, we receive many inquiries from collectors about a wide range of topics that relate to their paintings. Please view our FAQ page for helpful information.

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