Cole, Thomas,1801–48, American landscape painter, b. England. He arrived in the United States in 1818 and moved to Ohio, where he was impressed by the beauty of the countryside. In 1825 he went to New York, where his landscape paintings began to be appreciated. Largely self-taught, he depicted the scenery of the Hudson River valley and the Catskills, which he discovered on long walking trips, becoming a leader of the Hudson River schoolHudson River school,
group of American landscape painters, working from 1825 to 1875. The 19th-century romantic movements of England, Germany, and France were introduced to the United States by such writers as Washington Irving and James Fenimore Cooper.
..... Click the link for more information. . In 1829 he went to Europe, where he spent some time sketching in England and Italy. In Paris he greatly admired the landscapes of Claude Lorrain. After he returned to New York, he was commissioned (1832) to paint his five famous allegorical scenes, farfetched and neoclassical in style, known as the Course of Empire (N.-Y. Historical Soc., New York City). This series and the Expulsion from the Garden of Eden (Mus. of Fine Arts, Boston) reflect his strong moralizing tendencies, combined with elements of fantasy; they are far less successful than his landscapes. Other works, such as Oxbow (Metropolitan Mus.) and Catskill Mountains (Mus. of Art, Cleveland), reveal his joy in the grandeur of nature.
See biography by L. L. Noble (1964).
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Cole, Thomas(1801–48) painter, poet; born in Lancashire, England. He and his family emigrated to Philadelphia (1819) to escape the industrial revolution. A founder of the Hudson River School, he influenced many artists, especially his pupil, Frederick E. Church. With his mastery of precise detail, his landscapes quickly brought him fame and comparison with his predecessor, Washington Allston. Notable paintings from this period include The Oxbow (1836), a view of the Connecticut River near Northampton, Mass., and View on the Catskill, Early Autumn (1837). After two trips to Europe (1829 and 1841), he moved between New York City and his home in Catskill, N.Y. His paintings became increasingly allegorical in nature, as in the series called The Vogage of Life, which includes Childhood (1839), Youth (1840), Manhood (1840), and Old Age (1840), and the five-painting series The Course of Empire (1836). His poems, now forgotten except for "The Lament of the Forest," appeared in periodicals of his day.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.