Thomas Cole (1801-1848) , English immigrant, is regarded as a father of the Hudson River School, the first national art expression of the American identity in the post-War of 1812 period. It was a time when we no longer had to look over our shoulder at what England was doing and could begin to think of ourselves as having a manifest destiny. Cole also was very much part of the birth of tourism which occurred in the Hudson Valley and points north and west. [Read more…] about The Immigrant Thomas Cole and NY State Tourism
Hudson River School
Many of the iconic landscape scenes painted by Hudson River School artists, now hanging in major museums all over the world, are the breathtaking views surrounding the Hudson River Valley. Thanks to preservationists and conservationists, several of these vistas remain remarkably similar to their 19th-century appearance and are instantly recognizable. [Read more…] about Exhibit: Side-by-Side Hudson River School Imagery
To celebrate the many talented artists who continue to be inspired by the landscapes along the Hudson River School Art Trail, the Thomas Cole Historic Site has issued a “call to artists” to submit a new postcard-sized artwork for an exhibition and sale entitled “Postcards from the Trail” that will take place on Sunday September 23, 2012. [Read more…] about Call to Artists: Hudson River School Art Trail
In 1974, an Italianate building that Thomas Cole had designed and used as his painting studio in the mid-19th century was demolished. It had fallen into disrepair and the art movement that Thomas Cole had founded, the Hudson River School, had fallen out of favor. Over the years, the site was overcome with trees and shrubs, and the exact location of the former building was lost. [Read more…] about Lecture on Thomas Cole’s ‘New Studio’ Sunday
Ten years ago the Thomas Cole National Historic Site opened its doors with no endowment, no government operating funds, and no paid staff. Thanks to members, volunteers, donors, scholars, trustees, staff, interns, advisors and fans the birthplace of the Hudson River School is still inspiring us today.
Over the next ten years Historic Site staff hope to see Thomas Cole’s “New Studio” rebuilt in the exact spot where it stood for 128 years – a building that he himself designed and the interior rooms of the 1815 “Main House” restored. [Read more…] about Thomas Cole Celebrates 10 Years, Makes Plans
It has been ten years since the Thomas Cole National Historic Site opened its doors, and they have a great many milestones to celebrate, so they are opening their doors on Sunday, September 25, from 1-4 pm for a Community Day, featuring a new exhibition focusing on the past decade. Admission is free. [Read more…] about Thomas Cole Historic Site Community Day
Thomas Cole National Historic Site is offering a third season of guided hikes to places that inspired Thomas Cole and fellow artists of the Hudson River School. Hikers will see the views that appear in some of the most beloved landscape paintings of the 19th-century, and hear stories that bring their history to life. [Read more…] about Hudson River School Hikes Offered
The Hudson River Valley is the birthplace of American Art. For more than 200 years artist have been inspired by its beauty—from Charles Willson Peale and Samuel F.B. Morse to Thomas Cole and the Hudson River School of landscape painting—artists painting the valley and living in the city where a century later Abstract Expressionism emerged. Before Hollywood, Fort Lee on the Palisades was a center of motion picture production, where painters like Thomas Hart Benton worked as grips and extras. [Read more…] about Boscobel Exhibit: Contemporary Hudson Valley Art
On May 1, 2011, the Thomas Cole National Historic Site opens Robert S. Duncanson: The Spiritual Striving of the Freedman’s Son, the first exhibition featuring the work of the nineteenth-century African-American landscape painter Robert S. Duncanson in many years, and, the first exhibition of his work to appear on the east coast, even in his lifetime. The exhibition will bring the work of this Ohio artist to the home of Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School and major influence on Duncanson. [Read more…] about New Exhibit: Landscape Painter Robert Duncanson
The Olana Partnership will celebrate the Hudson Valley’s extraordinary natural and designed landscapes in a symposium on Saturday, April 16, 2011. Framing the Viewshed: The Transformative Power of Art and Landscape in the Hudson Valley will take place at Columbia-Greene Community College, just outside of Hudson, New York. The panel discussion will feature three leading experts in the fields of art history, conservation, and landscape design who will discuss the Hudson Valley’s unparalleled viewsheds and their cultural context.
Olana, now the Olana State Historic Site, was the home and creation of Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), one of the most significant artists of his day, and a leader of the Hudson River School, America’s first native school of painting. As a young artist, Church studied under Thomas Cole who lived just across the Hudson River. Church fell in love with the area and, when he became successful he bought a farm, which eventually became one of America’s most important designed landscapes.
Frederic Church designed Olana, planting trees, building a lake, and orchestrating the paths and carriage drives that lead up to the iconic Persian-inspired castle at the top of the hill. From this vantage point, with Church’s 250-acre Picturesque style landscape in the foreground, and the larger, borrowed landscape stretching to the horizon, today’s visitor can enjoy a vista largely unchanged in the 110 years since Frederic Church died.
This vast area comprises the Olana viewshed. (Fittingly, Columbia-Greene College, site of the symposium, is itself part of this viewshed.) “Olana represents a rare American convergence of art, conservation and landscape themes,” said Mark Prezorski, trustee of The Olana Partnership. “It makes perfect sense for the Olana Viewshed to serve as a backdrop for a broader Hudson Valley discussion.”
The panel discussion will be moderated by David Schuyler, the biographer of Calvert Vaux, who assisted Church with the design of the house. Art historian Linda S Ferber will speak on the four Hudsons of Wallace Bruce, the author of a 1901 travel guide: the Hudsons of Beauty, History, Literature and Commerce. Vassar Professor Emeritus Harvey K. Flad will discuss the “Art of Protecting Scenic Views: Nineteenth-century Artists and the Preservation of Modern-day Landscapes.” Landscape architect Laurie Olin, whose designs for public and private landscapes have won him international acclaim, will speak on the use of contemporary design in historic settings.
The concept of viewsheds is one in which many organizations are involved, several of which are participating in this symposium by either helping sponsor the conference or having representatives on hand to talk about their work. Sara Griffen, President of The Olana Partnership, said, “Partnerships are key to understanding and preserving views. The Olana Partnership is pleased that the Hudson Valley Greenway and National Heritage Area are sponsors of the symposium, and that representatives of Scenic Hudson, the Open Space Institute, and the Columbia Land Conservancy will be available to describe their respective roles in the preservation of views. The Olana Partnership also acknowledges the critical work of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation as well as the Estuary program of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of State, and the support of our partners at the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Cultural Landscape Foundation.” WDST is the media sponsor of the symposium.
Citing some reasons why his organization with its partners have preserved more than 2,000 acres in the Olana viewshed, Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan said, “These vistas are good for the soul and the economy. The land that inspired Frederic Church’s art today lifts the spirits of all who see it. Keeping this treasured landscape intact helps Olana bring $8 million to the local economy each year and contributes strongly to Columbia County’s tourism industry, which generates $105 million in spending annually and is responsible for 1,500 jobs. I applaud Olana for holding this symposium to have more people appreciate and support preserving the valley’s natural beauty.”
The symposium will be held from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, at Columbia-Greene Community College, 4400 Route 23, Hudson, NY. Registration starts at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 each for members of The Olana Partnership, $50 for non-members. Continuing Education Credits, LACES 3.5 Non-HSW (NYS) will be available for registered landscape architects. From 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon, Olana is offering tours of the Bell Tower (which is not usually open to the public) to symposium participants. The tour is free to members, $40 for non-members; space is limited so guests must pre-register. For additional information or to reserve tickets, go to the Olana website, www.olana.org or call (518) 828-1872, extension 103.
Another feature of this symposium is a collection of statements on the subject of viewsheds that will be provided to attendees. In addition, these statements are posted on Olana’s website, along with an opportunity for the public, through Facebook, to create their own statements about views.
Following the symposium, participants can enjoy the sunset by attending a Viewshed Benefit Party with wine and hors d’oeuvres, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Oak Hill in Hudson, NY (town of Livingston). Oak Hill was built around 1793 by John Livingston (1750-1822), son of Robert Livingston, the third Lord of Livingston Manor. Grandly sited on a Hudson River bluff, it commands intimate river and mountain views, as well as a singular view up toward Frederic Church’s house and painting studio. Oak Hill is one of more than a dozen family homes built along the Hudson River and has remained in the Livingston family since it was built. Sponsor tickets for the benefit are $250, members $90 and non-members $100 and are available by calling (518) 828-1872, extension 103 as well as via Brown Paper Tickets.
Photo: Peter Aaron/Esto.