Thomas Cole, View Near the Village of Catskill, 1827
Oil on panel, 24 1/2 x 35 in. (62.2 x 88.9 cm). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd, 1993.35.7
The English-born artist Thomas Cole maintained a home and studio in the rural village of Catskill, New York. Contrasting the landscapes of America with those of Europe, Cole observed: "American associations are not so much of the past as of the present and the future. Seated on a pleasant knoll, look down into the bosom of that secluded valley, begirt with wooded hills—through those enameled meadows and wide waving fields of grain, a silver stream winds lingeringly along—here, seeking the green shade of trees—there glancing in the sunshine: on its banks are rural dwellings shaded by elms and garlanded by flowers—from yonder dark mass of foliage the village spire beams like a star. You see no ruined tower to tell of outrage—no gorgeous temple to speak of ostentation; but freedom's offspring—peace, security, and happiness, dwell there, the spirits of the scene." [Thomas Cole, “Essay on American Scenery,” The American Monthly Magazine 7 (January 1836) Audio tour 322]
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