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A Jaunty Stroll Through (Art) History: The Hudson River School Art Trail
Thomas Cole, Falls of the Kaaterskill, 1826. Oil on canvas, 43 x 36 in. Property of the Westervelt Collection and displayed in The Westervelt-Warner Museum of American Art in Tuscalosa, AL.
CATSKILL, NY.- Fifteen scenic miles in the Catskills between The Thomas Cole National Historic Site and Olana New York Historic Site ( couldn’t be more beautiful. This stretch of history, known as The Hudson River School Art Trail, leads visitors to the sites that inspired America’s first great landscape painters by mapping the sites that inspired works of art by Hudson River School painters Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, Asher B. Durand, Jasper Cropsey, Sanford Gifford and other pioneering American artists.

The Art Trail, which is open for walking and hiking through October 31, brings together a series of eight sites where Hudson River School artists created some of their most recognizable works. The trail showcases breathtaking views of the landscapes appearing in Hudson River School works not only from the Thomas Cole Site and Olana but also landmarks that inspired the artists such as Catskill Creek, Kaaterskill Clove, Kaaterskill Falls, North-South Lake, Sunset Rock and Pine Orchard, the site of the former Catskill Mountain House. A number of these sites now feature outdoor exhibits with reproductions and historical background of the awe-inspiring paintings.

“Rising to eminence in New York during the mid-nineteenth century, this group of artists forged a self-conciously ‘American’ landscape vision for what was still a relatively new nation,” says Elizabeth Jacks, Executive Director of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. “The artists were united by their belief that their art might lead to spiritual renewal and contribute to the formation of a uniquely American national culture.”

A celebration of America’s first major art movement, the Hudson River School Art Trail is a project of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, made possible through a partnership with Olana New York State Historic Site, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the National Park Service Rivers and Trails program, with assistance from the Greene County Tourism Promotion Department.

Whether making plans for summer outings or planning ahead for leaf-peeping season, a visit to the Art Trail should definitely be added to any itinerary for a visit to New York’s Hudson River Valley.

The Thomas Cole National Historic Site
The Thomas Cole Historic Site, historically known as Cedar Grove, is where the artist Thomas Cole lived, worked, was married, and where he died at the age of 47. Today the site consists of the Federal style brick home (c. 1815) in which Thomas Cole resided with his family, as well as the artist’s original studio building, on five landscaped acres with a magnificent view of the Catskill Mountains.

The Thomas Cole Historic Site is located at 218 Spring Street in Catskill, New York, near the western entrance to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, with easy access from the New York State Thruway, Exit 21.

The Thomas Cole National Historic Site | Olana New York Historic Site | The Art Trail |

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