Now through February 23, area art lovers have the opportunity to peruse an array of works by the man who quite literally founded the Hudson River School of painting. Thomas Cole’s Refrain: The Paintings of Catskill Creek gathers masterworks by Cole and other artists from both private collections and major museums, to explore one of the artist’s most underappreciated group of paintings: his Catskill Creek series.
The exhibition on show at Yonkers’ Hudson River Museum was developed in part through new scholarship by H. Daniel Peck, the show’s curator, and the John Guy Vassar Jr., professor emeritus of English at Vassar College. Peck’s recent book, which shares the title of the exhibition, investigates Cole’s career between 1927 and 1845, with a focus on his breathtaking Catskill Creek series.
The exhibit features 12 original oil paintings by Cole, as well as works by several other 19-century artists inspired by him, including Frederic Edwin Church, Asher B. Durand, and Charles Herbert Moore. Major institutions, ranging from the New-York Historical Society and The National Gallery of Art to Vassar College and the Yale University Art Gallery, have contributed to the show, which features several private works that have rarely been seen in public.
According to Peck, the show details a particularly significant moment in the artist’s life. “Thomas Cole’s Catskill Creek paintings, created intermittently throughout his career, constitute the most sustained sequence of landscapes he ever produced,” notes Peck. “The exhibition tells the story of his discovery of Catskill Creek, with its Catskill Mountain background, and his ever-deepening attachment to the scene over the course of 18 years.”