Hudson River School of Art

-Alia McManus-

Biographical Information

  • European artists, such as the French and Dutch, had been painting large scale naturistic scenes that emerged in the mid 17th century
  • This was brought to America and became the essence of American art from 1825-1870
  • The art movement was inspired in the Catskill region, near the Hudson River Valley
  • Thomas Cole is considered the father of the school, founding it in 1825
  • The first three artists that formed the Hudson River School of Art were Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, and Thomas Doughty
  • Art became big and a form of public entertainment, as the middle class became excited about museums and art

Common Themes/ Subject Matter

  • Landscape painting of American wilderness
  • Paintings of the Hudson River Valley and of the West
  • Drama and boldness was created by the use of light effects and shadows
  • Paintings were of a large scale and with no particular subject
  • Paintings were significant in that they spurred nationalistic feelings, they displayed the beauty of American landscape and it was freedom for artists in America from European schools of art


Major Works

  • Thomas Cole- The Hunter's Return
  • Thomas Cole- Home in the Woods
  • Thomas Cole-Daniel Boone Sitting at the Door of his Cabin on the Great Osage Lake, Kentucky
  • Thomas Doughty- Home on the Hudson
  • Thomas Doughty- Hudson River Landscape
  • Asher B. Durand- Hudson River Scene
  • Asher B. Durand- Kindred Spirits


The Establishment of an American Landscape and the Hudson River School