Thursday, January 30, 2014

Master Mentor Master: Thomas Cole & Frederic Church

The Thomas Cole National Historic Site will host the exhibition Master Mentor Master:Thomas Cole & Frederic Church from April 30 to Nov. 2, 2014. This newly organized exhibition tells the story of one of the most influential teacher-student relationships in the history of American art – that between the founder of the Hudson River School of painting, Thomas Cole (1801-1848) and his student and successor, Frederic Church (1826-1900).

Master Mentor Master: Thomas Cole & Frederic Church
will be the first exhibition to explore this seminal moment in American art through the lens of the evolving relationship between Thomas Cole and Frederic Church. Their student-teacher arrangement grew into a life-long friendship between the two families, and later, the two historic sites that bridge the east and west sides of the Hudson River. Church, who became one of the most celebrated artists of the 19th century and later built Olana, was first introduced to the Hudson River Valley as an 18–year-old when he came to live and study with Cole at the property known as Cedar Grove in Catskill, New York, from 1844 to 1846. Church’s paintings from this two-year period show the artist learning from Cole while developing his own emerging style and unparalleled mastery of landscape painting.

A selection of very early works made by Church during his time as a student of Cole’s will be on view, including views of the landscapes that surround Cedar Grove and Olana. The Thomas Cole National Historic Site has also worked closely with curators and staff at the Olana State Historic Site on this special exhibition, and will present a unique selection of rarely shown oils on paper and sketches from the Olana collection.

Accompanying the show will be an exhibition catalogue about the Cole-Church relationship, illustrated in full color, which will include the artworks in the show plus many additional paintings and drawings. Also included will be stories that bring the student-teacher relationship to life and an essay by Dr. Wilmerding about this formative two year period that first brought Church to the Hudson Valley.

John Wilmerding is the Sarofim Professor of American Art, Emeritus, at Princeton University. He has been a visiting curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and served as Senior Curator and Deputy Director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, where he was former chairman of the board of trustees. He is currently a trustee of the Guggenheim Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas, and the Wyeth Foundation for American Art. President Obama appointed him to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House.

Master Mentor Master: Thomas Cole & Frederic Church
is the 11th annual presentation of 19th century landscape paintings at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, an exhibition program that explores the influence of Thomas Cole on American culture through a generation of artists known as the Hudson River School. Exhibitions and related programs enable visitors to see first-hand some of the magnificent examples of the style of painting that Cole is credited with launching, and to experience the paintings in a residential setting as they would have been experienced in the period in which they were made.

The Thomas Cole National Historic Site preserves and interprets the home and studios of Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School of painting, the nation's first art movement. Cole's profound influence on America's cultural landscape inspires us to engage broad audiences through educational programs that are relevant today. The Thomas Cole Historic Site is an independent non-profit organization and an affiliate of the National Park Service.

Directions: The Thomas Cole Historic Site is located in the scenic Hudson River Valley, at 218 Spring Street in Catskill, New York. Located near the western entrance to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, with easy access from the New York State Thruway exit 21 or Amtrak train service in Hudson, detailed directions and more information can be found at

Hooker and Company Journeying through the Wilderness from Plymouth to Hartford, in 1636, 1846, oil on canvas, Frederic Edwin Church. Courtesy of the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut

Frederic E. Church, Scene on Catskill Creek, 1847, oil on canvas, Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hagerstown, MD

Frederic E. Church, Sunrise, 1847, oil on paper. Olana State Historic Site, Hudson, NY OL.1978.11

Frederic E. Church, Morning, Looking East over the Hudson Valley from Catskill Mountains, 1848, Oil on canvas, Albany Institute of History and Art (Albany, New York, United States)