Bicentennial Celebrations at The Thomas Cole Site Will Kick Off with Lecture Series

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2018 | Bicentennial Anniversary
Thomas Cole’s Arrival in America from England in 1818

Bicentennial Celebrations at The Thomas Cole Site Will Kick Off with a Lecture Series Presented in Partnership with The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University

We are thrilled to announce the 200th year anniversary of Thomas Cole’s arrival in America. Thomas Cole (1801-1848) emigrated from Northern England in 1818 with his family at the age of 17. Cole went on to found America’s first major art movement, the Hudson River School of landscape painting, which profoundly shaped this nation’s identity and addressed the  prescient issues of preservation vs. development head on.

The bicentennial coincides with a major Thomas Cole exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art entitled Thomas Cole’s Journey: Atlantic Crossings opening in January and traveling to the National Gallery, London, in June of 2018. A complementary exhibition exploring the international context of Thomas Cole’s work will be presented at the Thomas Cole Site in May in partnership with the Yale University Department of Art History and the Yale Center for British Art.

To kick off this momentous occasion, the Thomas Cole Site will present the 15th annual Sunday Salons lecture series in Thomas Cole’s New Studio at the historic site once a month from January through April. This season will feature American art scholars and professors from The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University exploring new scholarship on the Hudson River School and Thomas Cole. The 2018 Sunday Salons are sponsored by James & Diane Lewis and David & Laura Grey.

The Thomas Cole Site will present the second season of Winter Tours on the same days as the Sunday Salons, allowing audiences to visit Thomas Cole’s historic home during the run of the Thomas Cole exhibition at the Met. Winter Tours invite guests into the historic Main House where Thomas Cole lived and worked with his family, and include the immersive multimedia installation The Parlors and the exhibition Mind Upon Nature: Thomas Cole’s Creative Process, featuring original works by the artist. Guided tours will be offered at 1 & 3:30 pm on the same days as the Sunday Salons from January through March. Stay tuned for the April touring schedule which will be announced in 2018.

2018 Programming | January – April

Thomas Cole: On Paper | Nicholas Robbins, Ph.D. Candidate, History of Art, Yale University, 2 pm
Thomas Cole left behind a vast archive — drawings, journals, letters, writings — that together attest to the central, formative role that paper played in his artistic development. Cole’s earliest works, completed before he began painting in 1825, include complex studies from nature, notebooks that recorded his readings in aesthetic theory, and short stories published in journals. Seen together, these more private forms of thinking on paper capture Cole’s development as an artist and intellectual.

Winter Tours, 1 pm & 3:30 pm

In the Footsteps of Thomas Cole | Shannon Vittoria, Ph.D., Research Assistant, American Wing, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2pm
This talk will explore the behind-the-scenes research conducted by the curatorial team for the exhibition Thomas Cole’s Journey: Atlantic Crossings as they followed in Cole’s footsteps traveling to England and Italy to research his youth in Bolton and his return journey to London, Florence, Rome, Tivoli and Naples from 1829-32.

Winter Tours, 1 pm & 3:30 pm

Frederic Church in Thomas Cole’s Catskills | Jennifer Raab, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, History of Art, Yale University, 2 pm
Frederic Church spent two formative years studying with Thomas Cole. This lecture will explore both Cole’s influence on Church, from drawing practices to sketching trips, and the ways in which the younger artist departed from his mentor.

Winter Tours, 1 pm & 3:30 pm

Idyllic and Industrial Visions: Thomas Cole, William Guy Wall, and the Hudson River | Sophie Lynford, Ph.D. Candidate, History of Art, Yale University, 2 pm
Sophie Lynford will tell the story of the relationship between Thomas Cole and another British-born artist who painted the Hudson Valley in the 1820s, William Guy Wall. Immigrating to the United States in 1818, the same year Cole arrived, Wall provided the watercolors for the popular volume The Hudson River Portfolio. The book’s release coincided with the transformation of the Hudson Valley into a destination for landscape tourism, likely encouraging Cole to visit the region. But the Portfolio showcased the industrialization springing up in the Hudson Valley, while Cole purposely omitted signs of such commercial activity in his early canvases. Toward the end of the 1820s, however, the two artists enjoyed a relationship characterized by reciprocal influence. While the Portfolio may have drawn Cole to the Hudson Valley, Cole’s first canvases of the area encouraged Wall revisit the region, to try his hand at painting in oil, and to experiment with more idiosyncratic compositions similar to those he saw in Cole’s work.

**April touring schedule to be announced**

Tickets for the Sunday Salons and the Winter Tours are purchased separately at Tickets for the Sunday Salons are $12 for general admission and $10 for members, and tickets for Winter Tours are $10 for general admission and free for members. Please note that both members and non-members must reserve a ticket in advance online for Winter Tours.

About the Thomas Cole National Historic Site
Thomas Cole National Historic Site preserves and interprets the home and studios of Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School of painting, the nation’s first major art movement. Located on 6 acres in the Hudson Valley, the site includes the 1815 Main House, 1839 Old Studio, the newly reconstructed 1846 New Studio, and several other buildings. It is a National Historic Landmark and an affiliated area of the National Park System. Following a restoration of the Main House, the Cole Site opened to the public in 2001. The site’s activities include guided tours, exhibitions, printed publications, extensive online programs, activities for school groups, free community events, lectures, and innovative public programs such as the Hudson River School Art Trail—a map and website that enables visitors to see the nearby views that Cole painted. Each year, the Cole Site organizes a loan exhibition of Hudson River School paintings, providing a first-hand experience with the art movement that Cole founded. The goal of all programs at the Cole Site is to enable visitors to find meaning and inspiration in Thomas Cole’s  life and work. The themes that Cole explored in his art and writings—such as landscape preservation and our conception of nature as a restorative power—are both historic and timely, providing the opportunity to connect to audiences with insights that are highly relevant to their own lives.

Visit the Thomas Cole National Historic Site
The hours for Thomas Cole’s home, studios, special exhibitions, and grounds vary by month. For details visit: and follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Educational programs supported by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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