American Landscape Painting | Thomas Cole | Frederic E. Church

Listen Up! BBC is Broadcasting “The Men Who Painted Paradise: The Hudson River School”

Chelsea DeLay | January 28th, 2013 | Posted in News

Treat your ears to thirty minutes of audio delight courtesy of BBC radio, which is currently airing in an online broadcast entitled “The Men Who Painted Paradise: The Hudson River School.” The first thirty seconds start off strong by introducing English-born Thomas Cole as the father of American landscape painting, giving him credit for igniting the Hudson River School movement. Listeners will be transported to Kaaterskill Falls, located in the heart of the Catskill Mountains–this area was both an artistic mecca and fashionable vacation destination during the 19th century.  The conflicting motivations for venturing deep into the untamed wild is a theme that continues throughout this entire broadcast: Hudson River school painters were adamant about portraying the pristine, romantic landscape of the New World,  but maintaining the initial sublimity of an unexplored terrain became increasingly difficult as tell-tale signs of modernity began to infiltrate west. Herein lies a secret involving the Hudson River school artists: keenly aware that tourism was a growing industry in the area, these 19th century landscape artists became expert Photoshop-ers, omitting evidence of contemporary life and industry from their works in response to what they considered a tragic loss of wilderness.

Following in Cole’s footsteps was Frederic Church, whose proved his artistic merit by producing sublime paintings  that incorporated the perfect amount of mystique and danger, yet celebrated the incomparable grandness of the American landscape. Established by Cole and Church, the legacy of the Hudson River School demonstrates the distinctly American sensitivity to the light and colors seen in nature.  Turn up the volume, close your eyes, and tune in to this fantastic broadcast!


Thomas Cole, “Imaginary Landscape with Towering Outcrop,” c. 1846-1847. Oil on canvas.18 ½ x 15 inches. Currently available at Questroyal Fine Art.

Chelsea DeLay is a Researcher at Questroyal Fine Art. Chelsea earned her MA in art business at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York, and her BA in art history and classical studies. Her interest in American paintings first began while working at an auction house on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and has multiplied exponentially since joining the Questroyal team.