The Hudson River School was the first coherent movement
or "school" of American art, beginning with the works of Thomas Cole
(1801-1848) and Asher B. Durand (1796-1886), it included Jasper F. Cropsey, Frederick
Edwin Church, Geroge Innes, Albert Bierstadt, Martin Johnson Heade, and others.
This group of painters, several of whom lived and worked in the Hudson River region,
reflected a dawning awareness not only of the beauty of the American landscape,
but also its capacity for the renewal and inspiration of the spirit. Many of these
artists went about their work with an awareness that they were capturing not just
the colors and shapes of the natural world, but the living presence of what the
founders of the republic referred to as "Nature's God." While
they were influenced by European landscape painters, they were alert to Ralph
Waldo Emerson's challenge "to ignore the courtly Muses of Europe" and
create a uniquely American art. The mid 19th century was a time of expansion for
the young nation, and the Hudson River painters depicted a New World which was,
in all its vastness and beauty, an unmistakable sign of God's handiwork.
I've included representative works of the major Hudson River artists in the
pages that follow. Click on any of the images in the table that follows to see
a much larger version of that painting, including its title and the name of the
artist. Or click here to start the slideshow at
Images on this page and within
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