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Fine Artist: Thomas Cole

When you think of the great painters throughout history, names like Michelangelo, Picasso, Monet and Warhol likely come to mind.

But have you heard of Thomas Cole?

Thomas Cole

Who Was Thomas Cole

Cole, a British-American painter, known for its romantic portrayal of the American wilderness, should definitely be added to your list.

In the mid-1800s, he became the first great American landscape painter. He even founded an artistic movement called the Hudson River School where he was based in New York state.

Painting Style

More than 200 years ago, Cole was living on the western bank of the Hudson River in the village of Catskill, NY. He would walk through the Northeast and sketch the landscape using a pencil.

Then during the harsh winters, he’d use those sketches as the basis of his oil paintings.

Artists who were part of the Hudson River School movement used the river as their inspiration. The look: realistic portrayals of the geographic area’s unique landscape.

An American Legacy

You’ve likely seen some of Cole’s works, but maybe not known how significant his contribution was to American art. He died young of pneumonia at age 47 leaving a great legacy.

The price tag for Cole’s most expensive piece? $1.46 million. It sold at Christie’s New York in 2003.

His paintings have been featured at the Met in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, among many more.

But, they can also be on display from your suit jacket or blazer.

Own A Piece of History

At Finley and Co., we’ve created limited edition 100% silk twill pocket squares featuring three of his outstanding pieces: The Oxbow, Titan’s Goblet and The Mountain Ford (which are all on display at the Met, by the way).

Fun fact: Turns out, this isn’t Cole’s first experience with fabric either. Hidden murals were recently discovered on the walls of his Catskills home in New York state that were depictions of drapery. The artwork is believed to have been painted as frames for works that were displayed on the parlor walls.

Famous Quotes By Thomas Cole

“I never succeed in painting scenes, however beautiful, immediately upon returning from them. I must wait for a time to draw a veil over the common details.”

"Whatever expression the sky takes, the features of the landscape are affected in unison, whether it be the serenity of the summer's blue, or the dark tumult of the storm. It is the sky that makes the earth so lovely at sunrise, and so splendid at sunset. In the one, it breathes over the earth the crystal-like ether, in the other liquid gold."

"If the imagination is shackled, and nothing is described but what we see, seldom will anything truly great be produced either in Painting or Poetry."

Shop the full Thomas Cole Fine Art Pocket Square Collection here.

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