On April 2nd 1813, the Village of Sing Sing (now called Ossining) became the first incorporated municipality in Westchester County. To recall and honor that historic day, the Village of Ossining will be holding a series of commemorative activities from April through October of 2013.
The bicentennial celebration, kicks of with “Ossining in 3D,” a historical photo and map show that runs through April 29th and depicts 200 years of Ossining’s history including its numerous historically and architecturally significant buildings, structures and sites. Read more →
Thomas Cole (1801-1848) , English immigrant, is regarded as a father of the Hudson River School, the first national art expression of the American identity in the post-War of 1812 period. It was a time when we no longer had to look over our shoulder at what England was doing and could begin to think of ourselves as having a manifest destiny. Cole also was very much part of the birth of tourism which occurred in the Hudson Valley and points north and west. Read more →
Many of the iconic landscape scenes painted by Hudson River School artists, now hanging in major museums all over the world, are the breathtaking views surrounding the Hudson River Valley. Thanks to preservationists and conservationists, several of these vistas remain remarkably similar to their 19th-century appearance and are instantly recognizable. Read more →
To celebrate the many talented artists who continue to be inspired by the landscapes along the Hudson River School Art Trail, the Thomas Cole Historic Site has issued a “call to artists” to submit a new postcard-sized artwork for an exhibition and sale entitled “Postcards from the Trail” that will take place on Sunday September 23, 2012.
A preview will benefit the Greene County Council on the Arts on the Saturday before. Artworks may depict any one of the 22 magnificent views that are now part of the Hudson River School Art Trail, a series of driving and hiking routes to the places that inspired the great landscape paintings of the 19th century. Hurry! The deadline for submissions is August 31st. For information about the Saturday preview, contact the GCCA at 518-943-3400. Artists can get the details and entry instructions online.
In 1974, an Italianate building that Thomas Cole had designed and used as his painting studio in the mid-19th century was demolished. It had fallen into disrepair and the art movement that Thomas Cole had founded, the Hudson River School, had fallen out of favor. Over the years, the site was overcome with trees and shrubs, and the exact location of the former building was lost. The site is now part of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, and the building is in the process of being revived. This Sunday, April 15 at 2 pm, the art history professor from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina, Julie Levin Caro, will be at the Thomas Cole site to speak about this piece of history – the building that Cole designed as his “dream studio”.
The talk is the last event in the series of Sunday Salon lectures, which take place once per month from January through April at the home of Thomas Cole, where the Hudson River School began. Tickets are $8 per person, or $6 for members, and admission is first-come-first-served.
Ten years ago the Thomas Cole National Historic Site opened its doors with no endowment, no government operating funds, and no paid staff. Thanks to members, volunteers, donors, scholars, trustees, staff, interns, advisors and fans the birthplace of the Hudson River School is still inspiring us today.
Over the next ten years Historic Site staff hope to see Thomas Cole’s “New Studio” rebuilt in the exact spot where it stood for 128 years – a building that he himself designed and the interior rooms of the 1815 “Main House” restored. On Sundays at 2 pm once per month Thomas Cole State Historic Site offers a popular Sunday Salon series of lectures. Here are the first two:
January 15 The Hunt for Thomas Cole’s Lost, Last, Unfinished Series In the late 1980s, a legendary New York art dealer acquired an oil study for one of five paintings in Cole’s monumental series, The Cross and the World. Learning that the series – still on Cole’s easel at the time of his death – had vanished from sight in the 1870s, the dealer sent Christine I. Oaklander out to hunt them down. Dr. Oaklander will discuss the history and iconography of Cole’s last, lost series and give us a “behind the scenes” glimpse of her quest.
February 12 Thomas Cole in Love In 1825, young Thomas Cole stepped out of the Catskills autumn with a body of work so exceptional that it kicked America’s drowsy cultural ambitions into a new state of excitement. Join Kevin Sharp, Director of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, as he explores Cole’s use of Romantic imagery from English poets such as Byron and Coleridge to create dramatic works that stood in stark contrast to the gentle landscape images that had come before.
It has been ten years since the Thomas Cole National Historic Site opened its doors, and they have a great many milestones to celebrate, so they are opening their doors on Sunday, September 25, from 1-4 pm for a Community Day, featuring a new exhibition focusing on the past decade. Admission is free.
In the ten years since the 2001 opening, over 60,000 people have visited the historic site and attendance is now 400% higher than it was in the first year. Once near ruin, the house and grounds now provide an evocative environment where visitors can learn about the founder of the Hudson River School of art.
Thomas Cole National Historic Site is offering a third season of guided hikes to places that inspired Thomas Cole and fellow artists of the Hudson River School. Hikers will see the views that appear in some of the most beloved landscape paintings of the 19th-century, and hear stories that bring their history to life. The hikes range from easy walks to moderately vigorous climbs. Each hike is limited to twelve people, so sign up soon to be sure to reserve your place. The next hike is Saturday June 18- all hikes depart from the Thomas Cole Historic Site at 9am. Hikes designated as “Easy” are approximately two hours in length. Those designated as “Moderate” are closer to four hours. Each of the guided hikes includes a copy of the Hudson River School Art Trail Guidebook and a guided tour of the Thomas Cole Historic Site at the end of the hike. The total price per person: $16, or $12 for members.
2011 Hike Schedule
JUNE 18 Sunset Rock and the Catskill Mt House (moderate)
JULY 16 Kaaterskill Falls and Catskill Mt House (moderate)
AUGUST 13 Catskill Mt. House and North-South Lake (easy)
SEPTEMBER 10 Kaaterskill Falls and Catskill Mt House (moderate)
OCTOBER 15 Sunset Rock and Catskill Mt House (moderate)
More about the hikes is available online [pdf]. Illustrations: Thomas Cole, The Clove, Catskills, 1827 (New Britain Museum of American Art), and the same view today. Photo by Francis Driscoll.
The Hudson River Valley is the birthplace of American Art. For more than 200 years artist have been inspired by its beauty—from Charles Willson Peale and Samuel F.B. Morse to Thomas Cole and the Hudson River School of landscape painting—artists painting the valley and living in the city where a century later Abstract Expressionism emerged. Before Hollywood, Fort Lee on the Palisades was a center of motion picture production, where painters like Thomas Hart Benton worked as grips and extras. Today the Hudson Valley inspires artwork that spans a wide spectrum…from Realism to Abstraction, process-based modes, photography, digital media, hybrid media, drawings made by hand, inventions and transmutations to collages and assemblages that explore issues of environment and sustainability…all are gathered for Boscobel House & Garden’s 2011 exhibition, Hudson River Contemporary: Works on Paper and represent the continued evolution of a great American tradition.
Many of the distinguished artists in the exhibition have never shown together before. Sigmund Abeles, Fern Apfel, Carolyn Marks Blackwood, Frederick Brosen, Naomi Campbell, Linda Cross, Anne Diggory, Richard Haas, Walter Hatke, Eric Holzman, Peter Homitzky, Erik Koeppel, James Howard Kunstler, Don Nice, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Vincent Pomilio, Raquel Rabinovich (2011 Lee Krasner Award for Lifetime Achievement winner), Susan Shatter, Joanne Pagano Weber, Ruth Wetzel and Douglas Wirls, who all respond to the Hudson watershed in various ways, while others like John Moore, Stephen Hannock, Dean Hartung and Don Stinson update the 19th century landscape painting tradition.
Abstract works by Luis Alonso, Sasha Chermayeff, Lisa Lawley allude to mapping, journals, books and domestic objects. Aurora Robson and Emily Brown use plastic waste retrieved from waterways and recycle materials from their own prior works. Photographs by Morse descendant Sarah McCoubrey document a fictional 19th century woman painter. Lensless photographs by Willie Anne Wright capture haunting images of formal gardens. Expeditionary artists Janet Morgan and Gregory Frux have kept journals and made paintings on their travels from the Shawangunks to Death Valley, Morocco and Antarctica.
Hudson River Contemporary: Works on Paper is organized by noted art historian Dr. Katherine Manthorne with her husband, visual artist and writer James Lancel McElhinney, in their first collaboration as co-curators. Catalogue essays are written by Dr. Manthorne’s doctoral students at the CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan with an introduction by the curators and acknowledgements by noted Hudson Valley leader and benefactor Barnabas McHenry.
Hudson River Contemporary: Works on Paper opens June 15, 2011 and will run through September 15, 2011 with Gallery Talks scheduled for July 10 & 31, August 14 & 28 and September 11, 2011. The exhibition gallery is open during regular business hours and is included in the purchase of a House & Grounds pass. A full-color exhibition catalogue and poster will be available for purchase in the gift shop after June 15.
Boscobel is located on scenic Route 9D in Garrison New York just one mile south of Cold Spring and directly across the river from West Point. From April through October, hours are 9:30am to 5pm (first tour at 10am, last at 4pm). The House Museum and distinctive Gift Shop at Boscobel are open every day except Tuesdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. For more information, visit Boscobel.org or call 845.265.3638.
Illustration: Don Nice, Highlands Bass, 1991, 40 x 60 inches, watercolor on paper, Collection of the Hudson River Museum. Gift of the artist, 2010
The Olana Partnership will celebrate the Hudson Valley’s extraordinary natural and designed landscapes in a symposium on Saturday, April 16, 2011. Framing the Viewshed: The Transformative Power of Art and Landscape in the Hudson Valley will take place at Columbia-Greene Community College, just outside of Hudson, New York. The panel discussion will feature three leading experts in the fields of art history, conservation, and landscape design who will discuss the Hudson Valley’s unparalleled viewsheds and their cultural context. Olana, now the Olana State Historic Site, was the home and creation of Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), one of the most significant artists of his day, and a leader of the Hudson River School, America’s first native school of painting. As a young artist, Church studied under Thomas Cole who lived just across the Hudson River. Church fell in love with the area and, when he became successful he bought a farm, which eventually became one of America’s most important designed landscapes.
Frederic Church designed Olana, planting trees, building a lake, and orchestrating the paths and carriage drives that lead up to the iconic Persian-inspired castle at the top of the hill. From this vantage point, with Church’s 250-acre Picturesque style landscape in the foreground, and the larger, borrowed landscape stretching to the horizon, today’s visitor can enjoy a vista largely unchanged in the 110 years since Frederic Church died.
This vast area comprises the Olana viewshed. (Fittingly, Columbia-Greene College, site of the symposium, is itself part of this viewshed.) “Olana represents a rare American convergence of art, conservation and landscape themes,” said Mark Prezorski, trustee of The Olana Partnership. “It makes perfect sense for the Olana Viewshed to serve as a backdrop for a broader Hudson Valley discussion.”
The panel discussion will be moderated by David Schuyler, the biographer of Calvert Vaux, who assisted Church with the design of the house. Art historian Linda S Ferber will speak on the four Hudsons of Wallace Bruce, the author of a 1901 travel guide: the Hudsons of Beauty, History, Literature and Commerce. Vassar Professor Emeritus Harvey K. Flad will discuss the “Art of Protecting Scenic Views: Nineteenth-century Artists and the Preservation of Modern-day Landscapes.” Landscape architect Laurie Olin, whose designs for public and private landscapes have won him international acclaim, will speak on the use of contemporary design in historic settings.
The concept of viewsheds is one in which many organizations are involved, several of which are participating in this symposium by either helping sponsor the conference or having representatives on hand to talk about their work. Sara Griffen, President of The Olana Partnership, said, “Partnerships are key to understanding and preserving views. The Olana Partnership is pleased that the Hudson Valley Greenway and National Heritage Area are sponsors of the symposium, and that representatives of Scenic Hudson, the Open Space Institute, and the Columbia Land Conservancy will be available to describe their respective roles in the preservation of views. The Olana Partnership also acknowledges the critical work of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation as well as the Estuary program of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of State, and the support of our partners at the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Cultural Landscape Foundation.” WDST is the media sponsor of the symposium.
Citing some reasons why his organization with its partners have preserved more than 2,000 acres in the Olana viewshed, Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan said, “These vistas are good for the soul and the economy. The land that inspired Frederic Church’s art today lifts the spirits of all who see it. Keeping this treasured landscape intact helps Olana bring $8 million to the local economy each year and contributes strongly to Columbia County’s tourism industry, which generates $105 million in spending annually and is responsible for 1,500 jobs. I applaud Olana for holding this symposium to have more people appreciate and support preserving the valley’s natural beauty.”
The symposium will be held from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, at Columbia-Greene Community College, 4400 Route 23, Hudson, NY. Registration starts at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 each for members of The Olana Partnership, $50 for non-members. Continuing Education Credits, LACES 3.5 Non-HSW (NYS) will be available for registered landscape architects. From 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon, Olana is offering tours of the Bell Tower (which is not usually open to the public) to symposium participants. The tour is free to members, $40 for non-members- space is limited so guests must pre-register. For additional information or to reserve tickets, go to the Olana website, www.olana.org or call (518) 828-1872, extension 103.
Another feature of this symposium is a collection of statements on the subject of viewsheds that will be provided to attendees. In addition, these statements are posted on Olana’s website, along with an opportunity for the public, through Facebook, to create their own statements about views.
Following the symposium, participants can enjoy the sunset by attending a Viewshed Benefit Party with wine and hors d’oeuvres, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Oak Hill in Hudson, NY (town of Livingston). Oak Hill was built around 1793 by John Livingston (1750-1822), son of Robert Livingston, the third Lord of Livingston Manor. Grandly sited on a Hudson River bluff, it commands intimate river and mountain views, as well as a singular view up toward Frederic Church’s house and painting studio. Oak Hill is one of more than a dozen family homes built along the Hudson River and has remained in the Livingston family since it was built. Sponsor tickets for the benefit are $250, members $90 and non-members $100 and are available by calling (518) 828-1872, extension 103 as well as via Brown Paper Tickets.