Thomas Cole

Thomas Cole (February 1, 1801 – February 11, 1848) was an English-born American painter known for his landscape and history paintings. One of the major 19th-century American painters, he is regarded as the founder of the Hudson River School,[1][2] an American art movement that flourished in the mid-19th century. Cole's work is known for its romantic portrayal of the American wilderness.[3]

Thomas Cole
Thomas Cole
Thomas Cole, 1846
BornFebruary 1, 1801
Bolton, Lancashire, England
DiedFebruary 11, 1848 (aged 47)
Catskill, New York, United States of America
NationalityEnglish, American
Known forPainting Medium/Media: Oil on Canvas
Notable work
The Titan's Goblet (1833), The Course of Empire (1833–36), The Oxbow (1836), The Voyage of Life (1842)
MovementHudson River School

Early life and education

Born in Bolton le Moors, Lancashire, in 1801, Cole emigrated with his family to the United States in 1818, settling in Steubenville, Ohio. At the age of 22, Cole moved to Philadelphia and later, in 1825, to Catskill, New York, where he lived with his wife and children until 1848.[4]

Cole found work early on as an engraver. He was largely self-taught as a painter, relying on books and by studying the work of other artists. In 1822, Cole started working as a portrait painter and later on, gradually shifted his focus to landscape.[5]


Cole, Thomas - Der Pokal des Riesen - hi res - 1833
The Titan's Goblet (1833), Oil on canvas; 49 × 41 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

In New York, Cole sold five paintings to George W. Bruen, who financed a summer trip to the Hudson Valley where the artist produced landscapes featuring the Catskill Mountain House, the famous Kaaterskill Falls, the ruins of Fort Putnam, and two views of Cold Spring.[6][7] Returning to New York, he displayed five landscapes in the window of William Colman's bookstore; according to the New York Evening Post the two views of Cold Spring were purchased by Mr. A. Seton, who lent them to the American Academy of the Fine Arts annual exhibition in 1826. This garnered Cole the attention of John Trumbull, Asher B. Durand, and William Dunlap. Among the paintings was a landscape called View of Fort Ticonderoga from Gelyna. Trumbull was especially impressed with the work of the young artist and sought him out, bought one of his paintings, and put him into contact with a number of his wealthy friends including Robert Gilmor of Baltimore and Daniel Wadsworth of Hartford, who became important patrons of the artist.

Cole was primarily a painter of landscapes, but he also painted allegorical works. The most famous of these are the five-part series, The Course of Empire, which depict the same landscape over generations—from a near state of nature to consummation of empire, and then decline and desolation—now in the collection of the New York Historical Society and the four-part The Voyage of Life. There are two versions of the latter, one at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., the other at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, New York. Among Cole's other famous works are The Oxbow (1836), The Notch of the White Mountains, Daniel Boone at his cabin at the Great Osage Lake, and Lake with Dead Trees (1825) which is at the Allen Memorial Art Museum.[8] He also painted The Garden of Eden (1828), with lavish detail of Adam and Eve living amid waterfalls, vivid plants, and deer.[9] In 2014, friezes painted by Cole on the walls of his home, which had been decorated over, were discovered.[10]

Cole influenced his artistic peers, especially Asher B. Durand and Frederic Edwin Church, who studied with Cole from 1844 to 1846. Cole spent the years 1829 to 1832 and 1841 to 1842 abroad, mainly in England and Italy.

Other work

Cole is best known for his work as an American landscape artist. In an 1836 [11] article on "American Scenery,"[12] he described his complex relationship with the American landscape in esthetic, emotional, and spiritual terms. He also produced thousands of sketches of varying subject matter. Over 2,500 of these sketches can be seen at The Detroit Institute of Arts.

In 1842, Cole embarked on a Grand Tour of Europe in an effort to study in the style of the Old Masters and to paint its scenery. Most striking to Cole was Europe's tallest active volcano, Mount Etna. Cole was so moved by the volcano's beauty that he produced several sketches and at least six paintings of it.[13] The most famous of these works is A View from Mount Etna from Taormina which is a 78-by-120-inch (1,980 by 3,050 mm) oil on canvas. Cole also produced a highly detailed sketch View of Mount Etna (pictured below) which shows a panoramic view of the volcano with the crumbling walls of the ancient Greek theatre of Taormina on the far right.

Cole was also a poet and dabbled in architecture, a not uncommon practice at the time when the profession was not so codified. Cole was an entrant in the design competition held in 1838 to create the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. His entry won third place, and many contend that the finished building, a composite of the first, second, and third-place entries, bears a great similarity to Cole's entry.[14]

Personal life

After 1827 Cole maintained a studio at the farm called Cedar Grove, in the town of Catskill, New York. He painted a significant portion of his work in this studio. In 1836, he married Maria Bartow of Catskill, a niece of the owner's, and became a year-round resident. Thomas and Maria had five children.[15] Cole's sister, Sarah Cole, was also a landscape painter; the two were close.

Additionally, Cole held many friendships with important figures in the art world including Daniel Wadsworth, with whom he shared a close friendship. Proof of this friendship can be seen in the letters that were unearthed in the 1980s by the Trinity College Watkinson Library. Cole emotionally wrote Wadsworth in July 1832: "Years have passed away since I saw you & time & the world have undoubtedly wrought many changes in both of us; but the recollection of your friendship... have never faded in my mind & I look at those pleasures as "flowers that never will in other garden grow-"[16] Thomas Cole died at Catskill on February 11, 1848. The fourth highest peak in the Catskills is named Thomas Cole Mountain in his honor.[17] Cedar Grove, also known as the Thomas Cole House, was declared a National Historic Site in 1999 and is now open to the public.[18]

Selected works


Imaginary scene from The Last of the Mohicans (1827)

Distant View of Niagara Falls 1830 Thomas Cole

Distant View of Niagara Falls (1830), Art Institute of Chicago

Cole Thomas Romantic Landscape with Ruined Tower 1832-36

Romantic Landscape with Ruined Tower (1832–36), Albany Institute of History & Art

Cole Thomas The Course of Empire The Savage State 1836

The Course of Empire: The Savage State (1836), New-York Historical Society

Cole Thomas The Consummation The Course of the Empire 1836

The Course of Empire: Consummation (1835–1836), New-York Historical Society

Cole Thomas The Course of Empire Desolation 1836

The Course of Empire: Desolation (1836), New-York Historical Society

The Fountain of Vaucluse by Thomas Cole

The Fountain of Vaucluse (1841), Dallas Museum of Art

Cole Thomas The Temple of Segesta with the Artist Sketching 1843

Temple of Segesta (1843), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Thomas Cole - A View of the Two Lakes and Mountain House, Catskill Mountains, Morning (1844) - Google Art Project

A View of the Two Lakes and Mountain House, Catskill Mountains, Morning (c. 1844), Brooklyn Museum

Home in the Woods 1847 Thomas Cole.jpeg

Home in the Woods (1847), Reynolda House Museum of American Art

Thomas Cole - Prometheus Bound - Google Art Project

Prometheus Bound (1847), Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

See also


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Cole, Thomas" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 665.
  1. ^ Hanc, John (23 October 2017). "'Scenes of Solitude' From Hudson River School Artists". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 28 November 2018. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  2. ^ Avery, Kevin J. (October 2004). "The Hudson River School". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Archived from the original on 28 November 2018. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  3. ^ Truettner, William H. (1994). Thomas Cole: Landscape into History. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
  4. ^ Tour brochure, Thomas Cole House, Catskill NY.Truettner, William H.; Wallach, Alan (1994). Thomas Cole Landscape into History. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. p. 8.
  5. ^ Truettner, William H. (1994). Thomas Cole: Landscape into History. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. pp. 25–26.
  6. ^ Effmann, Elise (November 2004). "Thomas Cole's View of Fort Putnam" (PDF). The Magazine Antiques: 154–159. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Brophy, Alfred L. (2009). "Property and Progress: Antebellum Landscape Art and Property Law" (PDF). McGeorge Law Review. 40: 605–59. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  9. ^ Exhibit at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas
  10. ^ Schweber, Nate (July 1, 2015). "Unknown Thomas Cole Paintings Found at His Home". Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Cole, Thomas (January 1836). "American Scenery". The American Monthly Magazine. 1 (1): 1–12.
  13. ^ "Studies on Thomas Cole" Baltimore Museum of Art, Annual II. pp. 123. Baltimore, Maryland 1967.
  14. ^ Weidman, Jeffrey; Library, Oberlin College (2000). Artists in Ohio, 1787–1900: A Biographical Dictionary. Kent State University Press. p. 174. ISBN 9780873386166.
  15. ^ They were: Theodore Alexander Cole, born January 1, 1838; Mary Bartow Cole, born September 23, 1839; Emily Cole, born August 27, 1843; Elizabeth Cole, born April 5, 1847 (died in infancy); Thomas Cole Jr., born September 16, 1848. ("A Guide to the Thomas Cole Collection" (PDF). Albany Institute of History and Art. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2009-01-06.)
  16. ^ Cole, T., & Wadsworth, D. (1983). The correspondence of Thomas Cole and Daniel Wadsworth: Letters in the Watkinson Library, Trinity College, Hartford, and in the New York State Library, Albany, New York. Hartford, Conn.: Connecticut Historical Society.
  17. ^ "Cedar Grove History". Archived from the original on 2014-01-06. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  18. ^ "History of Cedar Grove". The Thomas Cole National Historic Site. Archived from the original on 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2007-10-30.

External links

External video
Thomas Cole - Expulsion from the Garden of Eden - Google Art Project
Cole's Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, Smarthistory
Cole's The Oxbow, Smarthistory
Black Dome (New York)

See Black Dome for other mountains of this name.Black Dome is a mountain located in Greene County, New York.

The mountain is the highest peak of the Blackhead Mountains range of the Catskills.

Black Dome is flanked to the east by Blackhead, and to the west by Thomas Cole Mountain.

Black Dome stands within the watershed of Schoharie Creek, which drains into the Mohawk River, the Hudson River, and into New York Bay.

The south side of Black Dome drains into East Kill, and thence into Schoharie Creek.

The north side of Black Dome drains into Batavia Kill, and thence into Schoharie Creek.

Black Dome is within New York's Catskill Park.

Blackhead Mountains

The Blackhead Mountains range is located near the northern end of the Catskill Mountains, in Greene County, New York, United States, where it divides the towns of Windham and Jewett. The three named peaks in the range — Thomas Cole Mountain (3,940 feet; 1,201 m), Black Dome (3,980 feet; 1,213 m), and Blackhead Mountain (also in the 3,940-foot range) — are the fourth-, third-, and fifth-highest peaks in the Catskills, respectively. The gap between Thomas Cole and Black Dome is, at 3,700 feet, the highest in the Catskills.

To the west of Thomas Cole are two lesser, officially unnamed summits known locally as Camel's Hump (3,520 feet; 1,073 m) and Caudal (3,320 feet; 1,012 m). All except Blackhead can be climbed via the popular Black Dome Range Trail; a short spur from that trail leads to the Escarpment Trail atop Blackhead.

The range's distinctive rooster-comb profile is a visual signature of the Catskills. It can be easily seen from as far north as Albany and its suburbs, if there are views to the south to the range.

Van Loan Hill is located west of the Blackhead Mountains.

Expulsion from the Garden of Eden (Cole)

Expulsion from the Garden of Eden (or Expulsion from Paradise) was painted in 1828 by English-born American painter Thomas Cole. It belongs to the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and is on display in their Waleska Evans James Gallery (Gallery 236). This landscape painting exemplifies the style of the Hudson River School, which was a group of American landscape painters that Thomas Cole is credited with founding. On the lower left part of the cliff, Cole signed his name as "T Cole".

Haines Falls, New York

Haines Falls is a hamlet located east of Tannersville, New York in the Town of Hunter, in Greene County, New York. Haines Falls is located at 42°11′45″N 74°5′49″W. The hamlet of Haines Falls was always a tourist destination. Unlike Hunter and Palenville which had tanneries. Haines Falls is at the head of Kaaterskill Clove and is the former site of the famous Catskill Mountain House, Kaaterskill Hotel, and Laurel House which sat on the top of the famous Kaaterskill Falls. In 1825, Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School of landscape painters, did his first Catskill mountain paintings in Haines Falls: Lake with Dead Trees at South Lake and the Kaaterskill Falls.

Hudson River School

The Hudson River School was a mid-19th century American art movement embodied by a group of landscape painters whose aesthetic vision was influenced by Romanticism. The paintings typically depict the Hudson River Valley and the surrounding area, including the Catskill, Adirondack, and White Mountains. Works by the second generation of artists associated with the school expanded to include other locales in New England, the Maritimes, the American West, and South America.

Imeson Field

Imeson Field, also known as Jacksonville Imeson Airport, was the airport serving Jacksonville, Florida, from 1927 until its closing in 1968. It was known as Jacksonville Municipal Airport prior to World War II, Jacksonville Army Airfield when the United States Army Air Forces controlled the facility during World War II, and at its closing the airport was Jacksonville – Thomas Cole Imeson Municipal Airport.

Kindred Spirits (painting)

Kindred Spirits (1849) is a painting by Asher Brown Durand, a member of the Hudson River School of painters. It depicts the painter Thomas Cole, who had died in 1848, and his friend, the poet William Cullen Bryant, in the Catskill Mountains. The landscape painting, which combines geographical features in Kaaterskill Clove and a minuscule depiction of Kaaterskill Falls, is not a literal depiction of American geography. Rather, it is an idealized memory of Cole's discovery of the region more than twenty years prior, his friendship with Bryant, and his ideas about American nature.

Lake with Dead Trees

Lake with Dead Trees, also known as Catskill, is an oil on canvas painting completed in 1825 by Thomas Cole. Depicting a scene in the Catskill Mountains in southeastern New York State, this work is one of five of Cole's 1825 landscapes to found the mid-19th century American art movement known as the Hudson River School.

List of paintings by Thomas Cole

Thomas Cole was a 19th-century American artist widely regarded as a founder of the Hudson River School, and known for his romantic landscape and history paintings. Influenced by European painters, but with a strong American sensibility, he was prolific throughout his career and worked primarily with oil. His works are typically allegoric and often show small figures set against moody and evocative wilderness landscapes that served as escapism from the smog-filled cityscapes of industrial revolution-era Britain in which he grew up.His works are held across a broad variety of major and national museums; this list consists only of paintings documented in public collections. The medium, if not oil on canvas, is noted.

National Academy of Design

The National Academy of Design is an honorary association of American artists, founded in New York City in 1825 by Samuel Morse, Asher Durand, Thomas Cole, Martin E. Thompson, Charles Cushing Wright, Ithiel Town, and others "to promote the fine arts in America through instruction and exhibition."

Prometheus Bound (Thomas Cole)

Prometheus Bound is an 1847 oil painting by American artist Thomas Cole. Prometheus Bound is one of Cole's largest paintings, and like his other major works of the 1840s it was not the result of a commission. It draws from the ancient Greek tragedy Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus. In the painting, Prometheus is chained to a rock on Mount Caucasus in Scythia. Zeus has punished him for endowing humans with life, knowledge, and specifically for giving humans fire. Each day a raptor comes to feed on Prometheus's liver, which regrows between visits, making Zeus's punishment even more cruel.

The allegorical painting is among Cole's last works, but Cole never commented on the theme of the work. Art historians have tentatively linked the bondage of Prometheus to abolitionist sentiment by reviewing the presentation of the mythical figure in contemporaneous literature. Cole sent it to London for an 1847 exhibit and competition to decorate the Houses of Parliament, and the painting was still in London when he died. It thus received little exhibition in the United States in the 1840s, making its reception (and its theme) difficult to judge.

The Course of Empire (paintings)

The Course of Empire is a series of five paintings created by Thomas Cole in the years 1833–1836. It is notable in part for reflecting popular American sentiments of the times, when many saw pastoralism as the ideal phase of human civilization, fearing that empire would lead to gluttony and inevitable decay. The theme of cycles is one that Cole returned to frequently, such as in his The Voyage of Life series. The Course of Empire comprises the following works: The Course of Empire – The Savage State; The Arcadian or Pastoral State; The Consummation of Empire; Destruction; and Desolation. All the paintings are 39.5 inches by 63.5 inches (100 cm by 161 cm) except The Consummation of Empire which is 51" by 76" (130 cm by 193 cm).

The Oxbow

View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm, commonly known as The Oxbow, is a seminal landscape painting by Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School. The painting depicts a Romantic panorama of the Connecticut River Valley just after a thunderstorm. It has been interpreted as a confrontation between wilderness and civilization.

The Voyage of Life

The Voyage of Life is a series of paintings created by Thomas Cole in 1842, representing an allegory of the four stages of human life: childhood, youth, manhood, and old age. The paintings depict a voyager who travels in a boat on a river through the mid-19th-century American wilderness. In each painting the voyager rides the boat on the River of Life accompanied by a guardian angel. The landscape, each reflecting one of the four seasons of the year, plays a major role in conveying the story. With each installment the boat's direction of travel is reversed from the previous picture. In childhood, the infant glides from a dark cave into a rich, green landscape. As a youth, the boy takes control of the boat and aims for a shining castle in the sky. In manhood, the adult relies on prayer and religious faith to sustain him through rough waters and a threatening landscape. Finally, the man becomes old and the angel guides him to heaven across the waters of eternity.

Thomas Cole (Archdeacon of Essex)

Thomas Cole (died 1571) was an English Protestant churchman, a Marian exile who became archdeacon of Essex.

Thomas Cole (Dean of Norwich)

Thomas Cole, D.D. was an Anglican priest in the eighteenth century.Cole was born in Shropshire and educated at King's College, Cambridge. He held livings at Newton, Wisbech, West Raynham and East Raynham. He was installed as Dean of Norwich in May 1724, and continued until his death on 6 February 1731.

Thomas Cole House

The Thomas Cole House, also known as Cedar Grove or the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, is a National Historic Landmark that includes the home and the studio of painter Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School of American painting. It is located at 218 Spring Street, Catskill, NY, United States. The site provided Thomas Cole with a residence and studio from 1833 through his death in 1848.The property was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965. It was declared a National Historic Site in 1999.

Thomas Cole Mountain

Thomas Cole Mountain is a mountain located in Greene County, New York.

The mountain named for Thomas Cole (1801–1848), an artist who lived in the area, and is regarded as the founder of the Hudson River School.

Thomas Cole Mountain is part of the Blackhead range, and is the fourth highest peak of the Catskill Mountains.

Thomas Cole is flanked to the east by Black Dome (3,990 feet or 1,220 metres), and to the west by Camel's Hump (3,530 feet or 1,080 metres).

Thomas Cole Mountain stands within the watershed of Schoharie Creek, which drains into the Mohawk River, the Hudson River, and into New York Bay.

The south side of Thomas Cole drains into East Kill, and thence into Schoharie Creek.

The north side of Thomas Cole drains into Batavia Kill, and thence into Schoharie Creek.

Thomas Cole Mountain is within New York's Catskill Park.

Tom Cole (footballer)

Thomas Cole (born 28 May 1997) is an Australian rules footballer playing for the West Coast Eagles in the Australian Football League (AFL). He was drafted by the West Coast Eagles with their second selection and thirty-sixth overall in the 2015 national draft. He made his debut in the seventy-seven point win against Gold Coast in round 10, 2016 at Domain Stadium. In round 19, 2018, Cole was nominated for the AFL Rising Star after recording 18 disposals, 11 intercept possessions and 5 rebound 50s in a 40 point loss to North Melbourne.

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