Archive for October 20th, 2021

Revisiting the Old/ Cole

Thomas Cole- Round Top

How I have walked… day after day, and all alone, to see if there was not something among the old things which was new!

— Thomas Cole (1801-1848)

I am not sure if the words above from Thomas Cole refer to revisiting his older paintings to glean inspiration or if they have some other meaning. I immediately took them as meaning he sometimes looked back at his older work to see if there was something in them that could be explored once more and perhaps enhanced with the knowledge and expertise he had gained in the intervening time.

I know that this is my own purpose in periodically going back through the archives. I am looking for the inspiration that might come in seeing past compositions and uses of color or forms that may have changed over the years. Or simply ways of seeing and thinking thatmight have went in different directions and are ripe for a new examination.

If this is what Cole was intending then I am very pleased. I find his work, though worlds away from my own, intriguing. His body of work is pretty impressive, even for someone like me who isn’t always immediately drawn to traditional landscapes. Maybe that is because Cole’s works were not completely traditional. Perhaps it’s that he took such creative license with his subject matter, never being afraid to add his own romantic depth to landscapes that were already boldly dramatic in their own right.

The big got bigger and the wild, even wilder. His paintings and those of  the other painters of the Hudson River School of painting were the face of 19th century America to the rest of the world, creating a romantic vision of a beautiful and wide open nation, one that drew masses to its shores.

I am also intrigued by the fact that he was primarily a self-taught artist and his prodigious productivity. And that he did this all before his death at age 47 at his home in Catskill, NY. Impressive by all accounts.

Thomas Cole distant-view-of-niagara-falls-1830

Thomas Cole- Distant View of Niagara Falls 1830

Thomas Cole Evening in Arcady 1843

Thomas Cole- Evening in Arcady 1843

thomas cole- Sunset

Thomas Cole – Sunset

Thomas Cole- The Clove- Catskills 1827

Thomas Cole- The Clove, Catskills 1827


Thomas Cole- A Tornado in the Wilderness 1830

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