The “School” & The “Students”

The Hudson River School was never really a school at all. There was no formal organization to the school. Instead, it refers to the mid-19th century American art movement that started in this valley. The school’s founding father was Thomas Cole; he was one of the first people to portray landscapes in such a way, with a leftward moving composition and symbolic use of light. Cole was quickly joined by Asher Durand, John Casilear and Thomas Doughty, other prominent first generation artists.

The second generation artists were those that came to the scene years after the aforementioned artists. These artists expanded on the notions and stylistic elements associated with the school and its traditional style. The symbolic use of light associated with the first generation, was years later, developed into the style of luminism. Fredrick Church, Hermann Herzog, William Sidney-Mount, Jasper Cropsey and Sanford Gifford are among many of the second generation painters who pushed the limits of this school’s style In addition, the painting were larger and smaller in scale than their predecessors.

For more on the school and the students, please view the corresponding virtual tour!

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Exploratory Research on the Hudson River School of Art