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Hudson River School. 19th Century American Art. Ideas + Infuences. 1st coherent school of American art Shaped mythos of American landscape Prevalent genre of 19th century American art Roots in European Romanticism Define a distinct vision for American art

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Hudson River School

19th Century American Art


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Ideas + Infuences

  • 1st coherent school of American art

  • Shaped mythos of American landscape

  • Prevalent genre of 19th century American art

  • Roots in European Romanticism

  • Define a distinct vision for American art

  • Sense of awe for natural resources and optimism for potential

  • Depicted a New World wilderness

  • Man, small beside vastness of creation, retained a divine spark

  • HR painters believed art to be an agent of moral and spiritual transformation

  • “Luminists” experimented with effects of light on water and sky


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2 Great Painters

Thomas Cole (1801-1848)

Asher B. Duran (1796-1886)


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The Oxbow, 1836 Thomas Cole


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A View of Fort Putnam, 1825 Thomas Cole



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Sunday Morning, 1860 Asher B. Durand


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Kindred Spirits, Asher B. Durand

  • Durand and Cole depicted together

  • A broken tree stump = Hudson River School’s symbolic reminder that life is fragile

  • Humans are tiny, yet elevated by grandeur of landscape


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