Hudson River School 1825-1880

By: Lauren Onstott

What is Hudson River School?

“Large group of American landscape painters of several generations who worked between about 1825 and 1870. The name, applied retrospectively, refers to a similarity of intent rather than to a geographic location, though many of the older members of the group drew inspiration from the picturesque Catskill region north of New York City, through which the Hudson River flows. An outgrowth of the Romantic movement, the Hudson River school was the first native school of painting in the United States; it was strongly nationalistic both in its proud celebration of the natural beauty of the American landscape and in the desire of its artists to become independent of European schools of painting.”(Hudson River School pg1)

Who are the people that were in it?

Thomas Doughty, Asher Durand, and Thomas Cole were all leaders of the Hudson River school. They would carefully observe pictures of untouched wilderness in the Hudson River valley. They all studied in Europe for sometime which many of the other would follow in their foot steps and study there too. Thomas Doughty focused on serene, lyrical, contemplative scenes of the valley. Asher also focused on lyrical. He was more intimate and made use of gentle lighting in woodsy scenes. Thomas Cole was the more romantic of the group. He liked stormy and monumental points of nature.

Alvan Fisher, Henry Inman, Samuel Morse, John Kensett, John Casilear, Worthington Whittredge, and Jasper F. Cropsey also members, focused more on the landscape of northeastern United States. “Frederic Edwin Church is considered a member of the Hudson River school, although the exotically dramatic landscapes he painted frequently had little to do with typical American vistas. The more individual landscape painter George Inness also began as a Hudson River painter.” (Hudson River School pg2)


  1. The name of the group came from the many early paintings from the school that were from the region around the Hudson River.
  2. Most of the artist lived around the Hudson River or they had a studio.
  3. "Nash stresses the role that HRS artists played in helping Americans to come to appreciate nature and wilderness." (Hudson River School, Part 1 pg7)
  4. Many of the images were in galleries, museums, reproduced in books, periodicals, and engravings.
  5. "The artists of the Hudson River School were influenced less by European artists than by American artists and writers."(Hudson River School Artists pg2)


"Hudson River School (American Art Movement)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 12 Dec. 2014. <>

"Hudson River School, Part 1." Hudson River School, Part 1. Web. 15 Dec. 2014. <>.

"Hudson River School Artists." Independence Hall Association. Web. 15 Dec. 2014. <>.