Hudson River School

The Hudson River School was a mid-19th century American art movement by a group of landscape painters, whose aesthetic vision was influenced by romanticism. Their paintings depict the Hudson River Valley and the surrounding area, as well as the Catskill Mountains, Adirondack Mountains, and White Mountains of New Hampshire. "School", in this sense, refers to a group of people whose outlook, inspiration, output, or style demonstrates a common thread, rather than a learning institution.


Neither the originator of the term "Hudson River School" nor its first published use has been fixed with certainty. It is thought to have originated with the "New York Tribune" art critic Clarence Cook or the landscape painter Homer D. Martin (Howat, pages 3-4). As originally used, the term was meant disparagingly, as the work so labelled had gone out of favor when the Barbizon School and Impressionism came into vogue.

Hudson River School paintings reflect three themes of America in the 19th century: discovery, exploration, and settlement. The paintings also depict the American landscape as a pastoral setting, where human beings and nature coexist peacefully. Hudson River School landscapes are characterized by their realistic, detailed, and sometimes idealized portrayal of nature along with the juxtaposition of colonialism and wilderness. In general, Hudson River School artists believed that nature in the form of the American landscape was an ineffable manifestation of God, though the artists varied in the depth of their religious conviction. They took as their inspiration such European masters as Claude Lorrain, John Constable and J.M.W. Turner, and shared a reverence for America's natural beauty with contemporary American writers such as Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

While the elements of the paintings are rendered very realistically, many of the actual scenes are the synthesized compositions of multiple scenes or natural images observed by the artists. In gathering the visual data for their paintings, the artists would travel to rather extraordinary and extreme environments, the likes of which would not permit the act of painting. During these expeditions, sketches and memories would be recorded and the paintings would be rendered later, upon the artists' safe return home.

Thomas Cole

The artist Thomas Cole is generally acknowledged as the founder of the Hudson River School. Cole took a steamship up the Hudson in the autumn of 1825, the same year the Erie Canal opened, stopping first at West Point, then at Catskill landing where he ventured west high up into the eastern Catskill Mountains of New York State to paint the first landscapes of the area. The first review of his work appeared in the "New York Evening Post" on Nov. 22, 1825 [ [ Thomas Cole ] ] . At that time, only the English native Cole, born in a monochromatic green landscape, found the brilliant autumn hues of the area unusual. Cole's close friend, Asher Durand, became a prominent figure in the school as well, particularly when the banknote-engraving business evaporated in the Panic of 1837.

econd generation

The "second generation" of Hudson River school artists emerged to prominence after Cole's premature death in 1848, including Cole's prize pupil Frederic Edwin Church, John Frederick Kensett, and Sanford Robinson Gifford. Works by artists of this second generation are often described as examples of Luminism, or the Luminist movement in American art. In addition to pursuing their art, many of the artists, including Kensett. Gifford and Church [ [ Magazine Antiques, Jan, 2000 by John K. Howat] ] , were founders of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Most of the finest works of the Hudson River school were painted between 1855 and 1875. During that time, artists like Frederic Edwin Church and Albert Bierstadt were treated like major celebrities. When Church exhibited paintings like "Niagara" [ [ Collection Highlights / The Corcoran Gallery of Art ] ] or "Icebergs of the North" [ [] [] ] , thousands of people would line up around the block and pay fifty cents a head to view the solitary work. The epic size of the landscapes in these paintings reminded Americans of the vast, untamed, but magnificent wilderness areas in their country, and their works helped build upon movements to settle the American West, preserve national parks, and create city parks.

Public collections

One of the largest collections of paintings by artists of the Hudson River School is at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut. Some of the most notable works in the Atheneum's collection are 13 landscapes by Thomas Cole, and 11 by Hartford native Frederic Edwin Church, both of whom were personal friends of the museum's founder, Daniel Wadsworth. Other important collections of Hudson River School art can be seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New-York Historical Society, both in Manhattan, NY; the Brooklyn Museum in Brooklyn, NY; the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY; the Olana State Historic Site (Frederick E. Church's home) near Hudson, NY; the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; the Albany Institute of History & Art in Albany, New York; the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma; the Newark Museum in Newark, NJ; and the Westervelt Warner Museum of American Art in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Noteworthy artists of the Hudson River School

* Albert Bierstadt
* John William Casilear
* Frederic Edwin Church
* Thomas Cole
* Samuel Colman
* Jasper Francis Cropsey
* Thomas Doughty

* Robert Duncanson
* Asher Brown Durand
* Sanford Robinson Gifford
* James McDougal Hart
* William Hart
* William Stanley Haseltine
* Martin Johnson Heade

* Hermann Ottomar Herzog
* Thomas Hill
* David Johnson
* John Frederick Kensett
* Jervis McEntee
* Thomas Moran
* Robert Walter Weir [ [] ,] [ [ Robert W ] ] [ [ Archives of American Art - Weir family papers, 1823-1930 ] ]
* Worthington Whittredge

ee also

*List of Hudson River School artists
*White Mountain art
*Landscape art
* Western painting
* History of painting



Howat, John K. "American Paradise, The World of the Hudson River School". The Metroplitan Museum of Art, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, 1987.

External links

* [ Overview of the Hudson River School]
* [ White Mountain Art & Artists]
* [ Albany Institute of History and Art]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hudson River School —   [ hʌdsn rɪvə skuːl], gegen 1880 entstandene Bezeichnung für eine Gruppe amerikanischer Maler, die zwischen 1825 und 1890 zunächst die Landschaft im Osten der USA (Catskill Mountains, Tal des Hudson River) malten und dann über die Rocky… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • HUDSON RIVER SCHOOL — École de paysagistes américains inspirée par l’exemple de Thomas Cole et d’Asher B. Durand, les premiers grands peintres de l’histoire américaine. L’école de l’Hudson groupe, vers le milieu du XIXe siècle, une génération d’artistes nés après 1800 …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Hudson River school — n. [after the HUDSON2 River, depicted in many works of the earlier members of this group] a group of U.S. landscape painters of the 19th cent., including Thomas Cole and Albert Bierstadt …   English World dictionary

  • Hudson River School — Hudson River School, the a group of US painters between 1820 and 1880, who painted ↑landscapes (=paintings of areas of countryside) in a ↑romantic style …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Hudson River School — L Hudson River School (école de l Hudson) est un mouvement artistique né aux États Unis du XIXe siècle, fondé par un groupe de peintres du paysage influencés par le romantisme. Sommaire 1 Première génération 2 Seconde génération (1848 1870) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Hudson River School — Asher Brown Durand, Verwandte Geister, 1849 Hudson River School ist der Name einer Gruppe US amerikanischer Landschaftsmaler, die Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts tätig waren und der deutschen romantischen Malerei, insbesondere der Düsseldorfer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Hudson River school — Fine Arts. a group of American painters of the mid 19th century whose works are characterized by a highly romantic treatment of landscape, esp. along the Hudson River. * * * U.S. landscape painters of several generations, active с 1825–70. The… …   Universalium

  • Hudson River school — noun the first coherent school of American art; active from 1825 to 1870; painted wilderness landscapes of the Hudson River valley and surrounding New England • Syn: ↑romantic realism • Hypernyms: ↑artistic movement, ↑art movement * * * Fine Arts …   Useful english dictionary

  • List of Hudson River School artists — This is an incomplete list of Hudson River School artists. The Hudson River School was a mid 19th century American art movement by a group of landscape painters, whose aesthetic vision was influenced by romanticism. Their paintings depict the… …   Wikipedia

  • (the) Hudson River School — the Hudson River School [the Hudson River School] a group of 19th century artists, some of whom were born in Europe, who painted romantic ↑landscapes (= pictures of the countryside) in the US, including in the ↑Hudson River Valley. The paintings… …   Useful english dictionary

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