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Picturing America: Thomas Cole and the Birth of American Art

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The Hudson River was his muse. Thomas Cole was always looking for something new to draw.  Born in England during the Industrial Revolution, he was fascinated by tales of the American countryside, and was ecstatic to move there in 1818. The life of an artist was difficult at first, however Thomas kept his dream alive by drawing constantly and seeking out other artists. But everything changed for him when he was given a ticket for a boat trip up the Hudson River to see the wilderness of the Catskill Mountains. The haunting beauty of the landscape sparked his imagination and would inspire him for the rest of his life. The majestic paintings that followed struck a chord with the public and drew other artists to follow in his footsteps, in the first art movement born in America. His landscape paintings also started a conversation on how to protect the country's wild beauty. 

Hudson Talbott takes readers on a unique journey as he depicts the immigrant artist falling in love with--and fighting to preserve--his new country.

  • Age Range: 6 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 3
  • 32 pages
  • 9.3 x 0.3 x 10.9 inches

The Hudson River is much more than a body of water. The Hudson has been the home for humans and hundreds of species of fish, birds, and plants for centuries. Our exhibition, Hudson Rising, reflects on how human activity has impacted the river and, in turn, how the river environment has shaped art, industrial development, commerce, tourism, and environmental awareness. On view March 1 – August 2, 2019.

ITEM NUMBER: 18412

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