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See the Landscapes that Inspired the Art

Visit New York State’s museums, artists’ homes and studios, and see the landscapes that inspired the art. A mosaic of art and history is ready for discovery – explore the heritage of the Hudson River School of painters from the 1800’s and see how a new form of artistic expression in the 1940’s resulted in Abstract Expressionism, also known as the New York School.

At Eaton’s Neck on Long Island see the landscape the inspired the painting known by the same name, Eaton’s Neck, Long Island, 1872 by John F. Kensett is in the collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Fort Putnam and Trophy Point, both on the grounds of the United States Military Academy at West Point, were common vantage points for Hudson River School artists. Hudson River Scene, 1857, by John F. Kensett, was painted from the vicinity of Fort Putnam. The painting is in the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh was a vantage point for Hudson River School artists. Raphael Hoyle’s Washington’s Headquarters at Newburgh, 1830 is displayed in Crawford House, a historical house museum in Newburgh.

The Escarpment in the Catskill Forest Preserve is a well-known landmark. The Escarpment is 30 miles in length and provides beautiful vistas of the region. Thomas Cole sketched many works from the escarpment, including A View of the Two Lakes and Mountain House, 1844, which is in the permanent collection at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Known as the Pine Orchard, this was the magnificent setting for the Catskill Mountain House, America’s first destination mountain resort, built in 1823, perched on the edge of the eastern escarpment of the Catkills. The mountain house provided elegant 19th century R&R for America’s rich and famous, with a spectacular view of the Hudson Valley, which enchanted Hudson River School painters. Morning, Looking East over the Hudson Valley from the Catskill Mountains, 1848 by Frederic Edwin Church; which is in the permanent collection of the Albany Institute of History and Art was painted from the vicinity of this site.

Kaaterskill Falls - One of the most celebrated scenic sites in 19th century America, painted several times by Thomas Cole and most of the artists of the Hudson River School.

People from many walks of life have visited Fort Ticonderoga to see the famous battlefield and fort. Among these visitors were artists who came to sketch, paint, and later photograph the famous Fort and its dramatic setting on Lake Champlain. The most notable of these artists was Thomas Cole (1801-1848). His oil on board View Near Ticonderoga, 1826, now in the collection of Fort Ticonderoga, depicts the tragic death of an officer of the Royal American Regiment during the Seven Years' War. Cole later modified the painting in 1829 and renamed it Gelyna, View Near Ticonderoga.

Thomas Cole painted Inspiration Point at Letchworth State Park in 1839. The original painting, titled Portage Falls was given to William H. Seward when he was the Governor of New York State, and it still hangs in Seward’s former home, the Seward House Museum, in Auburn, New York.

Many Hudson River School artists painted Niagara Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world. The painting Under Niagara, 1858, by Frederic Edwin Church, was sketched from a unique vantage point. Church chartered the Maid of the Mist to take him to the very base of the Horseshoe Fall. No artist had dared venture so close, and the captain kept the steamer headed into the current for forty minutes while Church made a rough oil sketch. The study for Under Niagara is in the permanent collection at Olana State Historic site as is Horseshoe Falls, 1856. Goat Island, also a vantage point for the adventurous, was the location from which Niagara from Goat Island, Winter, 1856, Frederic Edwin Church, was painted. This painting is in the collection of the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum.

SEE THE MASTERPIECES – Hudson River School

Brooklyn Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of
New -York Historical Society
Newington-Cropsey Foundation
Olana State Historic Site
The Thomas Cole National Historic Site
Albany Institute of History and Art
Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute
Fenimore Art Museum


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