Expulsion from the Garden of Eden∞ Thomas Cole 1827 Oil on Canvas Museum of Fine Arts Boston
The Ages of Life- Youth∞ Thomas Cole 1842 Oil on Canvas National Gallery of Art Washington DC
The Consummation of the Empire∞ Thomas Cole 1836 Oil on Canvas New York Historical Society New York
The Course of the Empire – Destruction∞ Thomas Cole 1836 Oil on Canvas New York Historical Society New York
View of Fort Putnam∞ Thomas Cole 1825 Philadelphia Museum of Art. Promised gift of Charlene Sussel
Landscape Composition, St. John in the Wilderness∞ Thomas Cole 1827 Oil on Canvas Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
“None know how often the hand of God is seen in a wilderness but them that rove it for a man’s life.”
Thomas Cole, born in Lancashire, England, was trained as an engraver of woodblocks used for printing calico. Because he did not have any formal education in art, his aesthetic ideas derived from poetry and literature, influences that were strongly to mark his paintings. The Cole family emigrated to America in 1818, but Thomas spent a year alone in Philadelphia before going on to Steubenville, Ohio, where his family had settled. He spent several years in Steubenville designing patterns and probably also engraving woodblocks for his father’s wallpaper manufactory. He made his first attempts at landscape painting after learning the essentials of oil painting from a nebulous itinerant portraitist named Stein. In 1823, Cole followed his family to Pittsburgh and began to make detailed and systematic studies of that city’s highly picturesque scenery, establishing a procedure of painstakingly detailed drawing that was to become the foundation of his landscape painting. Cole’s remarkable oeuvre, in addition to naturalistic American and European views, consisted of Gothic fantasies (The Departure andThe Return, 1837), religious allegories (Tbe Voyage of Life, 1840), and classicized pastorals (The Dream of Arcadia, 1838). He consistently recorded his thoughts in a formidable body of writing: detailed journals, many poems, and an influential essay on American scenery. Further, he encouraged and fostered the careers of Asher B. Durand andFrederic E. Church, two artists who would most ably continue the painting tradition he had established. Though Cole’s unexpected death after a short illness sent a shock through the New York art world, the many achievements that were his legacy provided a firm ground for the continued growth of the school of American landscape.John K Howat, "American Paradise: The World of the Hudson River School"