Thomas Cole Biography | Oil Painting Reproductions

2-1-1801 Bolton, ENG – 11-11-1848 Catskill, USA

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Cole, Thomas

Thomas Cole born in Lancashire, England, served his apprenticeship as an engraver of textile designs for calico printing. He emigrated with his family in 1818 and worked briefly as an engraver in Philadelphia before settling in Steubenville, Ohio, where he took lessons from an unknown traveling painter. In 1823 he returned to Philadelphia and enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of fine Art, then moved to New York in 1825.

Founder of the first American Artistic Movement.

He began sketching along the Hudson River and through the Catskill Mountains, and his paintings of the American wilderness brought him fame and fortune. The influences of Constable, French Realism and the Barbizon School contributed to the emergence of the first truly American artistic movement. Led by the talented artist Thomas Cole, generally acknowledged as the founder of the Hudson River School, the school flourished between 1825 and 1875. The first review of his work appeared in the New York Evening Post on November 22, 1825. This style of painting took reality at its starting point, but transformed it into an idealized Romantic vision, with a strong dose of American national pride. The landscapes were breathtaking, View From Mount Holyoke, Northampton, After A Thunderstorm, The Oxbow shows the lush landscape glittering in the pale sun after a violent storm is a celebrated example of Cole's spiritual approach to nature.

In 1829-1832 he traveled all over Europe painting landscapes and classical ruins. On his return to New York Thomas Cole embarked on a colossal project, a series of large paintings that would chronicle the rise and fall of civilizations, The Course of Empire. There are five paintings beginning with pastoral, arcadian views, colonization, civilizations, destruction and finally back to nature as mankind destroys itself. He took immense pride in his allegories and deprecated the landscapes which made his fortune and on which his reputation still rests.

In 2014, friezes painted by Cole on the walls of his home, but which had been decorated over, were discovered. Thomas Cole is considered the father of American Romantic landscape oil painting as the founder of the Hudson River School, and therefore one of the world's artist.

Art Movement History: Hudson River School
Artists Influencing Thomas Cole
: Washington Alliston
He Traveled To Greece, England, France, Italy
Painters Thomas Cole Influenced: Asher B. Durand, Frederic Edwin Church, Jasper Cropsey

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