In December of 1846, Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole fulfilled a life goal of having his own studio in which he could work and handle his art. Before its completion, he once said, “I am now sitting in my New Studio which is about completed though the walls are not quite dry…”(1); Cole was happy to just sit amongst the construction and simply feel the boundless potential of the raw space, eager and excited by the artistic potential the future studio would afford his career. The studio was positioned just across from Cole’s main house at Cedar Grove, providing him with unobstructed, panoramic views of the Catskill Mountains. Unfortunately, the building was demolished in 1970 after falling into disrepair. But in 2010, the Thomas Cole National Historic Site acquired a piece of land that was originally a part of the historic property and announced that it intended to rebuild the New Studio.
At the end of 2013, New York State’s Empire State Development awarded the Thomas Cole National Historic Site a $500,000 grant to help fund the reconstruction, and a substantial bequest from Ray Beecher, a former Green County historian, provided additional capital to move forward with the project. On July 3, 2014, excitement was in the air at the official groundbreaking. An important first step, the ceremony marks the beginning of a multi-year, $1.5 million project to recreate Thomas Cole’s 1846 studio. While the exterior of the New Studio will be an exact replica of Cole’s original design, the interior will be a dedicated exhibition space with modern updates to ensure the welfare of the art that will be displayed inside.
You can stay up-to-date on the progress and development of this project by checking in on the New Studio News blog, which is maintained by the Thomas Cole National Historic Site.