Thomas Cole National Historic Site

Thomas Cole, b 1801- d 1848
218 Spring Street P.O. Box 426, Catskill, NY 12414 - view on Google Maps
518-943-7465
“Nature has spread for us a rich and delightful banquet. Shall we turn from it? We are still in Eden; the wall that shuts us out of the garden is our own ignorance and folly.”
—Thomas Cole, 1836
This is the place where American art was born. Landscape painter Thomas Cole originated America’s first major art movement, now known as the Hudson River School, which sparked a new appreciation for the beauty of America’s landscapes. His groundbreaking achievements took place here at Cedar Grove, his home and studio. The Thomas Cole National Historic Site is a National Historic Landmark that welcomes thousands of visitors each year, featuring changing exhibitions of landscape paintings, guided tours of Cole’s gracious 1815 home and studio, and sweeping views of the Catskill Mountains that Cole loved.

ABOUT

In the early nineteenth century, many in this country were searching for a style of art that they could call their own - something uniquely American. Painter, poet, and essayist Thomas Cole (1801-1848) responded to this quest by creating pristine landscape paintings unlike any yet seen. His vision of wild and untouched scenery with majestic mountains and tangled forests stood in stark contrast to the gentle landscape images that had come before.

Influential people of the nascent New York cultural scene embraced his work enthusiastically. Cole was a father-figure to the group of landscape artists now known as the Hudson River School. Cole, Asher Durand, Frederic Church, Sanford Gifford, Jasper Cropsey, and other painters, along with literary figures such as William Cullen Bryant and James Fenimore Cooper, forged a self-consciously “American” style and landscape vision for what was still a relatively new nation.

The artists of the Hudson River School were united by their belief that their art might lead to spiritual renewal and contribute to the formation of a uniquely American national culture. Their work established a notion of America as a new Eden, a concept that still resonates with artists, environmentalists, and landscape enthusiasts to this day.

Did you know...?

Although Thomas Cole is best-known as a painter, he was also an architect, a poet, a musician and an early environmentalist.

WHAT TO DO HERE

  • Join a guided tour of Cole’s home and studio
  • See the film about his art
  • Stroll through the flower gardens
  • Enjoy the sweeping view of the Catskill Mountains
  • Take in a special lecture about the Hudson River School
  • Walk in Thomas Cole’s Footsteps: sign-up for a guided art trail hike
  • Purchase art books & creative gifts in our museum shop, including the Hudson River School Art Trail Guide

YOU CAN ALSO SEE THE ART HERE:

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NY
  • The Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT
  • The New-York Historical Society, New York City, NY