Announcing the 2016 Exhibition:Thomas Cole, The Architect's Dream, 1840, 53 x 84 in. Toledo Museum of Art

Thomas Cole: The Artist as Architect

We are excited to announce our 2016 exhibition, curated by noted scholar Annette Blaugrund with the assistance of our associate curator Kate Menconeri, opening on May 1, 2016. In celebration of the recreation of Thomas Cole’s self-designed Italianate studio at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, the exhibition and the accompanying book focus on Cole’s architectural interests through architectural elements in his paintings and drawings as well as in both his realized and visionary projects, expanding our understanding of the breadth of his talents and interests.

This exhibition is a part of a project entitled "Thomas Cole and the Roots of the Conservation Movement," designed to highlight the 19th-century tradition of conserving iconic American landscapes, supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. This exhibition of Cole's iconic paintings will be the first to be held in his recently reconstructed studio (originally bulit in 1846). The central work of the exhibition is Cole's 1840 painting "The Architect's Dream," depicting the artist overlooking a panorama of architectural styles. Other paintings as well as more than a dozen works on paper will be included.  Click here for the full press release.


2016 Sunday Salons

Thomas Cole, Front Elevation of Proposed Villa at Catskill, Detroit Institute of Arts, MI, 39.510

Each year during the months of January through April, we offer lectures once per month on Sundays at 2 pm, bringing you engaging speakers who discuss topics related to the Hudson River School. Tickets are $9 or $8 for members, and each talk is followed by a reception. This year, for the first time, the lectures will be held in our brand-new building, the New Studio, which Cole himself designed. To celebrate its rebirth, the 2016 Sunday Salons and the 2016 exhibition will address the topic of Cole as architect. Learn more about the New Studio.


January 10

Francis Morrone
Thomas Cole and 19th-Century American Architecture

Join Francis Morrone – historian, writer and leading authority on the architectural history of New York City – as he examines the architectural atmosphere of early 19th-Century America. Mr. Morrone, whose walking tours of NYC for the Municipal Art Society are legendary, will explore the leading architects and architectural styles that dominated late 18th and early 19th-Century America, and give us a glimpse of how those ideas influenced Thomas Cole. Mr. Morrone, who has a longstanding interest in the Hudson River School painters and their relation to the architectural and landscape design currents of their time, was a 2012 recipient of the Arthur Ross Award of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art.

Sunday Salon Lecture - January 10


February 7

Robert D. Loversidge, Jr., FAIA
Thomas Cole and the Ohio Statehouse

Is the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, Thomas Cole’s largest artwork? Although in the competition to choose its architect his entry won third prize, the finished building is widely credited as Cole’s design. But given the way architecture and construction were practiced in the first half of the 19th century, is “wanting” to be the designer (as documented by period correspondence) and actually “being” the designer (Cole, for instance, never visited the construction site) the same thing? Robert Loversidge, award-winning preservation design architect and President & CEO of Schooley Caldwell Associates, was principal-in-charge of the ten-year renovation/restoration/addition project at Ohio’s National Historic Landmark Statehouse, where he has served as Architect of the Capitol since 1988.

Sunday Salon Lecture - February 7


March 13

William L. Coleman
Thomas Cole's Country Houses

Country houses occupied a prominent and intriguing role in Thomas Cole's wide-ranging engagement with architecture. His little-studied paintings of the grand estates of three different patrons and his writings about country life are eloquent documents of the formation of a domestic ideal that guided this painter-architect when it came time to design a country house of his own. Cole’s surviving drawings for a new Italianate villa on the Cedar Grove property tell a story of ambition, frustration, and resiliency in the face of professional setbacks. Join William Coleman, a postdoctoral fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, for an exploration of the insights the recently rebuilt New Studio offers into the artist’s notion of how best to inhabit the landscape.  

Sunday Salon Lecture - March 13


April 10, 2016

Wanda M. Corn
Artists’ Homes and Studios as Archive and Romance

Join nationally renowned art historian Dr. Wanda M. Corn, Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor Emerita in Art History at Stanford University, as she explores American artists’ homes and studios that, like the Cole property, have been preserved and opened to the public. She asks what these special places can teach us about the creative process and the history of art. Dr. Corn, chair of the advisory council for the Historic Artists’ Homes & Studios program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is a scholar of late 19th- and early 20th-century American art and photography. Active as a visiting curator and scholar, she has produced numerous books and exhibitions, including The Great American Thing: Modern Art and National Identity, 1915-1935.

Sunday Salon Lecture - April 10


Hikes on the Hudson River School Art Trail

Visit the magnificent nearby views that are depicted in Thomas Cole's paintings. Our guided hikes are offered from June to October. During other times you can pick up our guidebook or visit our free online guide at and visit on your own. To guide your journey we've created several suggested itineraries that can be accessed here: Suggested itineraries on the Hudson River School Art Trail


The Thomas Cole Historic Site is supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency. 

The Thomas Cole Site is a member of the Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios program (HAHS) of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.