Here’s the promised repost of the Thomas Cole bioBLOG. (The original got spammed.) His birthday is 2.1.1801.
“How lovely are the portals of the night, when stars come out to watch the daylight die.”– Thomas Cole
- Thomas Cole [Image courtesy http://www.abcgallery.com]
Thomas Cole was born on this in Bolton-le-Moor, Lancashire, England. in 1801. Today is the 211th anniversary of his birth.
Cole was the seventh child born to James and Mary Cole. James was a woolen manufacturer. Accounts of Cole’s childhood in England vary, but it seems that family was poor and his life was pretty grim.
In 1810, at the age of nine, Thomas was sent to school in the city of Chester, where he allegedly suffered from malnutrition, harsh discipline and sickness enough to scar him with memories of the experience for the rest of his life. [ABC Gallery.com]
In 1815 his lot improved marginally as he apprenticed “to an engraver of designs working at a calico print factory” [Ibid] By 17 he was an engraver’s assistant in Liverpool. When the company his father worked for folded the family moved to the United States.
They lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a while before moving on to Steubenville, Ohio, but Thomas stayed in Philadelphia. He …
worked as a wood engraver and a textile print designer. The next year, 1819, Cole traveled to St. Eustatius in the Caribbean where he made some of his earliest artistic efforts, sketches of the mountainous landscape. [questoryalfineart.com]
He joined his family in Ohio later that year. He worked with his father as a wallpaper manufactuer . In 1820 he learned the basics of portrait painting from a traveling painter named Stein. Although Cole was more interested in landscapes, portraits sold better. He also painted theatre sets.
In 1823, the young aspiring artist took his development to a new level by enrolling at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. The next year, Cole exhibited his first work, at the Pennsylvania Academy. He moved to New York City in 1825 and began his long relationship with and reverence for the Hudson River Valley. [Ibid]
…a tourist hotel was opened in the Catskill Mountains one hundred miles upriver from New York. Once in New York in late 1825, Cole sailed for the Catskills, making sketches there and elsewhere along the banks of the Hudson. He produced a series of paintings that, when spotted in a bookstore window by three influential artists, gained him widespread commissions and almost instant fame. [Ibid]
He painted lush landscapes throughout the North Eastern United States “including the White Mountains in New Hampshire in 1827 and the Niagara Falls in 1829.” [ABC Gallery.com] That summer he went to England and then, in 1831 toured Europe.
He based his famous The Course of Empire series on landscapes he’d seen in Europe.
He moved back to New York and married Maria Bartow in 1836 a big year “The newlyweds settled in the village of Catskill, where Cole had made a habit of spending summers before his departure to Europe.” [ABC Gallery.com]
Cole continued to paint, and lecture until 1848 when he was “struck by a debilitating disease which left him with a lung infection…. After lingering for almost a week, Cole died on February 8, 1848.” [ibid]
For a nice interactive tour of Cole’s artwork CLICK HERE
To learn about the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill CLICK HERE
- Hudson River School Exhibit: Timeless Virtues of the 19th Century (theepochtimes.com)