March 18, 2003 - November 30, 2003
Thomas Cole, long considered the founder of the Hudson River School and the father of 19th century American landscape as a whole, takes center stage in this exhibition with his seminal five-painting series, The Course of Empire. Commissioned by the pioneering American art collector, Luman Reed, the series was a culminating achievement in the artist's career, embodying ideas and approaches to landscape that profoundly influenced scores of other Hudson River School artists, many of whom are featured in the exhibition.
The exhibition, sponsored by the New York State Museum Institute and HSBC, features 40 paintings and 11 other works on paper, including engravings and lithographs. Artists represented include several of Cole's devoted followers and friends, most notably Frederick Edwin Church, Asher Brown Durand, Jasper Francis Cropsey, John Frederick Kensett and Martin Johnson Heade.