Frederic Edwin Church

A Nationalist and Expansionist Artist

Biography and Artistic Contributions

Church was born in Hartford, Connecticut to a wealthy business man. His first formal training in art was by locals, Benjamin Hutchins Coe and Alexander Hamilton Emmons. He later went on to be the first student of the Famous Hudson River School painter, Thomas Cole. He studied with him in Catskill, NY. Here he developed his epic style and and learned many of Cole's sketching methods. With two years under Cole, Church moved permanently to New York where he established his own studio in the Union-Art Building, he obtained much success. He became one of the youngest artists to gain the academician at the National Academy of Design status. At this time he was mostly painting large landscapes of the Hudson River Valley and New England as influenced by his teacher Cole, but started to incorporate technicality into his pieces. He also always incorporated a sense of spirituality into his work along with science, creating a blend of the two. Church wove science into his pieces of nature represented by weather and the atmosphere, he used sketches to portray his work. Church began to travel to draw different landscapes, becoming the first American artist to travel to South America. He began to become much more renown for his work, and traveled to places such as Ecuador and many European countries to seek out subjects for his work. He used mediums such as oil on canvas, pencil for sketches, and paint.


Church made immense contributions to the art world. He was referred to as one of the best landscape artists of his time. He produced many masterpieces that are still praised today. He painted many large, ornate depictions of landscapes as influenced by the Hudson River School's theme of advancement and expansionism. He is now known as the best of the Hudson River artists. He executed sketches and drew many landscapes to appeal to the pro-expansion public of the United States. Today his pieces are widely known and recognized in some of the most prestigious museums in the world. Artists today still look at his large depictions of nature for inspiration and technique.

Nationalism: A Growing Feeling

Church represented Nationalism through his artwork throughout his career. As a member of the Hudson River School, he was famous for landscapes that portrayed the beauty in the territories of the United States. The awe-inspiring depictions of nature created a sense of pride in many Americans who saw the images. They also sparked a desire for many to explore these areas. Church was one of the most traveled artists, demonstrating expansionism in his real life. He painted pictures of areas all over the world to entice people to explore the beauty of the world, especially West. Many of his images show rushing water or traveling animals that serve the purpose to illustrate growing expansion and the movement of people and ideas to new territories. At one point in his career, Church even traveled with an expansionist painting as he journeyed. His beautiful, popular work inspired and encouraged expansionism for everyday people to were able who experience his art.

Church's Artwork

Works Cited

"Art Renewal Center Museum™ Artist Information for Frederic Edwin Church." Art Renewal Center. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

"Frederic Edwin Church - The Complete Works." Frederic Edwin Church - The Complete Works. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

"Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History." Frederic Edwin Church (1826–1900). Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

"National Galleries of Scotland." Niagara Falls, from the American Side − Frederic Edwin Church − C − Artists A-Z − Online Collection − Collection −. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

"The Worlds of Frederic Edwin Church by William Gerdts from Antiques & Fine Art Magazine." The Worlds of Frederic Edwin Church by William Gerdts from Antiques & Fine Art Magazine. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

"The Worlds of Frederic Edwin Church by William Gerdts from Antiques & Fine Art Magazine." The Worlds of Frederic Edwin Church by William Gerdts from Antiques & Fine Art Magazine. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

By: Kayla Michaels