Thomas Cole | Thomas Cole National Historic Site | New Studio

Thomas Cole House Awarded $500,000

Nina Sangimino | December 28th, 2013 | Posted in News

As we look ahead to the new year, the Thomas Cole National Historic Site has revealed that it has exciting plans in the works. Thanks in part to a $500,000 grant awarded by New York State’s Empire State Development, the museum is planning to construct a replica of the Hudson River School painter’s New Studio building. Designed by Cole himself as a result of his longtime appreciation of the art of architecture, the 1,000-square-foot studio was built in 1846 and stood on his property in Catskill, New York, across from his 1815 main house, Cedar Grove. Details of the Italianate-style studio included carved wooden acorns, a cornice of arches, and floor-to-ceiling windows. As Executive Director Betsy Jacks describes, “It was a studio where Cole did a lot of his best work at the end of his life.” Unfortunately, the original structure fell into disrepair after years of neglect and was razed in 1973.

When Cole moved into his New Studio 167 years ago, on Christmas Day, 1846, he wrote: I am now sitting in my New Studio which is about completed although the walls are not quite dry. I have promised myself much enjoyment in it & great success in the prosecution of my Art, but I ought ever to bear in mind that “the day cometh when no man can work” – I pray to God that what I am permitted to accomplish here may be to his Glory – and that if I produce fine works, that I must ascribe the honor to the giver of the gift. After Cole’s death in 1848, the New Studio was treated as a memorial and was visited by several artists of his generation, including Jasper Francis Cropsey.

In an effort to reconstruct an exact replica of the original structure, the Thomas Cole National Historic Site has conducted extensive archival and archeological research. In the coming year, it will also work with Olana State Historic Site, the former home of Hudson River School master and Cole student Frederic Church. Between 1844 and 1846, Church lived with the senior artist at Cedar Grove as a student of landscape painting, and Olana holds his detailed drawing of the original studio building and site. Once completed, the new building will serve as a venue for lectures and exhibitions. This will certainly be an interesting project to watch over the next few years as the New Studio will complete the restoration of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site and revive one of Cole’s rare architectural works, creating a more complete understanding of both Thomas Cole’s career and the art movement he helped to establish.

Thomas Cole, New Studio, Cedar Grove, archival photograph, ca. 1900

The New Studio, ca. 1900, with Thomas Cole’s daughter Emily
Courtesy Thomas Cole National Historic Site

Nina Sangimino is the Senior Researcher at Questroyal Fine Art. Nina discovered her love of art in high school drawing and painting classes. She went on to study art history at the University at Albany and earned an MS in the same field from Pratt Institute. Prior to joining Questroyal, Nina was a curatorial apprentice at the Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport, New York.