Thomas Cole

Thomas Cole was an English-born American artist regarded by many as the creator of the famous Hudson River School. This was a 19th century American art movement concentrating entirely on landscape paintings of the beautiful natural landscapes of this area. As such, the works of Thomas Cole bear great similarities to other artists of this movement. Bierstadt paintings and Moran paintings remain other great examples of what this movement achieved during it’s early stages. Cole’s paintings are famous for their realistic and detailed coverage of American landscape and wilderness with an air of romanticism and naturalism. Cole told artist to teacher later in his career which helped his art to live on in other’s work. Asher B. Durand and Frederic Edwin Church were amongst his famous influences from the 19th century.

The family of Thomas Cole moved from his birthplace of Bolton in Nothern England, to settle in Steubenville, Ohio in the United States, as many did at the time. A relative unknown portrait painter by the name of Stein was responsible for giving Cole his early teachings, but he soon realised that his passion was for landscape art, which was to become his future direction as he took his own path after this point. During his early life he was to spend time in Pittsburgh, Philadelpiha and New York City. Later in his career he decided to expand his knowledge and experiences both in a cultural sense, and in his artistic styles, with regular time spent in England and Italy. It was here that he was to really enjoy new passions for art that gave him further sparks of inspiration.

Aside from his landscapes, Cole also experimented with Surrealist style art to some degree but it never matched either his passion for or success of the former style, which he would always return to soon after. It was here that we was most comfortable, and that he would meet other like-minded artists who shared his love of the American landscape and desire to combine realism and romanticism.

Aside from his paintings, Thomas Cole also spent some time involved with architecture which gave his some respite from his “day job” and allowed him to experiment with his creativity in new ways. Artists found it easier at this time to switch between different industries with less barriers to entry, and a prominent name in another industry going a long way to opening doors. His architectural plans were entered into various regional competitions across America and gained him some small further success, but certainly not comparable in size to the great legacy he left in American oil painting.

Related artists

Albert Bierstadt is a famous American-German artist who was part of the Hudson River School. Bierstadt produced famous paintings of North American landscapes, notably The Rocky Mountains, Yosemite. Bierstadt’s 19th century landscape paintings numbered as many as 4,000 and we include the very best below. Other famous paintings by Bierstadt included The Rocky Mountains, Lander’s Peak Looking Up the Yosemite Valley, A Storm in the Rocky Mountains – Mount Rosalie, Emigrants Crossing the Plains and Sunrise, Yosemite Valley.

Thomas Moran was an American painter from the Hudson River School whose paintings regularly included the Rocky Mountains. Thomas Moran along with Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Hill, and William Keith created hundreds of western landscapes during their careers, in which they covered the American landscape with great colour, realism and a touch of romanticism.

List of famous Thomas Cole paintings

  • The Garden of Eden
  • The Oxbow (The Connecticut River near Northampton)
  • The Departure
  • The Return
  • The Past
  • The Present
  • L’Allegro (Italian Sunset)
  • Il Penseroso
  • A Rocky Glen
  • A Tornado in the Wilderness
  • A View near Tivoli (aka Morning)
  • A View near Tivoli
  • A Wild Scene
  • American Lake Scene
  • An Evening in Arcadia
  • An Italian Auutumn
  • Angels Ministering to Christ in the Wilderness
  • Aqueduct near Rome
  • Arch of Nero
  • Autumn in the Catskills
  • Autumn Landscape (aka Mount Chocorua)
  • Campagna di Roma
  • Catskill Landscape
  • Catskill Mountain House The Four Elements
  • Catskill Scenery
  • Cross at Sunset
  • Daniel Boone Sitting at the Door of His Cabin on the Great Osage Lake Kentucky
  • Dream of Arcadia
  • Evening in Arcadia
  • Expulsion – Moon and Firelight
  • Expulsion from the Garden of Eden
  • Falls of Kaaterskill
  • Frenchmans Bay Mt Desert Island
  • Gelyna (aka View near Ticonderoga)
  • Genesee Scenery
  • Home in the Woods
  • Il Pensaro
  • Indian at Sunset
  • Indian Pass
  • Indian Pass Tahawus
  • Indian Sacrifice
  • Interior of the Colosseum Rome
  • Italian Scene Composition
  • Kaaterskill Falls
  • Lake with Dead Trees (aka Catskill)
  • LAllegro (aka Italian Sunset)
  • Landscape
  • Landscape Composition Italian Scenery
  • Landscape Composition Saint John in the Wilderness
  • Landscape Scene from The Last of the Mohicans
  • Landscape the Seat of Mr Featherstonhaugh in the Distance
  • Landscape with Dead Trees
  • Landscape with Figures A Scene from The Last of the Mohicans
  • Moonlight
  • Morning Mist Rising Plymouth New Hampshire (aka A View in the United States of America – Autumn)
  • Mount Etna
  • Mount Etna from Taormina
  • Mount Etna from Taormina
  • Mountain Sunrise Catskill
  • Niagara Falls
  • Portage Falls on the Genesee
  • Prometheus Bound
  • River in the Catskills
  • Roman Campagna
  • Romantic Landscape with Ruined Tower
  • Scene from Manfred
  • Scene from The Last of the Mohicans Cora Kneeling at the Feet of Tamenund
  • Scene from The Last of the Mohicans Cora Kneeling at the Feet of Tanemund
  • Scene from The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper
  • Schroon Lake
  • Schroon Mountain Adirondacks Essex County New York after a Storm
  • Sketch for Dream of Arcadi
  • Sketch for The Oxbow
  • Study for Dream of Arcadia
  • Study for the Cross and the World
  • Summer Twilight
  • Sunny Morning on the Hudson River
  • Sunrise in the Catskill Mountains

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