Announcing the 2014 exhibition

Master, Mentor, Master: Thomas Cole & Frederic Church 

on view April 30 - November 2, 2014   

It vividly evokes the personal and intellectual bond between the elder painter and the pupil who became one of the most celebrated artists of the mid-19th century.... An intimate representation of two artistic lives significantly entwined.   - The Wall Street Journal

We are pleased to announce the first exhibition to explore one of the most influential teacher-student relationships in the history of American art – that between the founder of the Hudson River School of painting, Thomas Cole (1801-1848) and his most celebrated student and successor, Frederic Church (1826-1900).  Church was first introduced to the Hudson Valley as an 18–year-old when he came to live and study with Cole at the property known as Cedar Grove in Catskill, New York, from 1844 to 1846.  With over 20 artworks on view, the exhibition offers a rare chance to see Church's early works from this formative period, alongside key examples of Cole's work from the same time. The exhibition is curated by John Wilmerding, the former Deputy Director of the National Gallery of Art, with associate curator Kate Menconeri.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Wyeth Foundation for American Art, Eli Wilner & Co., the Bay and Paul Foundations, the Bank of Greene County, the Greene County Legislature through the County Initiative Program administered by the Greene County Council on the Arts, and the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area.

Preview a selection of paintings from the show.

Read the Press Release


Special Summer Exhibition  


Thomas Cole’s Honey 

A special selection of approximately ten new artworks by Stanley Maltzman are on exhibit at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site from July 26 - October 2, 2014. All made between 2013 and present, Maltzman’s watercolors, pastels, and drawings pay homage to the towering, 200 year old Honey Locust tree that stands across from Thomas Cole’s front door. The exhibition can be viewed as an option on the "Gallery Visit" offered in the afternoons, Wed-Sun. Click here for more information about the exhibition.


Guided Hikes on the Art Trail 

The Thomas Cole Historic Site is pleased to present a series of guided hikes on the Hudson River School Art Trail, which brings you into the magnificent landscapes that inspired Thomas Cole and other luminaries of 19th-century landscape painting. The schedule of hikes is below.

The package price per person is $17, or $15 for members, and includes the following components:

The guided hike/walk along the Hudson River School Art Trail with:

  • A copy of the Hudson River School Art Trail Guidebook, a 55-page book with full-color illustrations ($7.95 value)
  • A guided tour of the Thomas Cole Historic Site at the end of your hike ($10 value)

2014 Art Trail HIKE schedule:
Advance registration is required.

JUNE 14 - Catskill Mt. House and North-South Lake (easy)    

JUNE 21 - Sunset Rock and the Catskill Mt House (moderate)

JULY 19 – Catskill Mt. House and North-South Lake (easy)            

AUGUST 16- SOLD OUT / Kaaterskill Falls and Catskill Mt House (moderate) 

SEPTEMBER 13- Catskill Mt. House and North-South Lake (easy)

SEPTEMBER 27- Sunset Rock and Catskill Mt House (moderate)                 

OCTOBER 4- Catskill Mt. House and North-South Lake (easy)

OCTOBER 18- Kaaterskill Falls and Catskill Mt House (moderate)

Download the hike program information sheet.

After reading the information sheet, register for a hike.

The trails are also easy to navigate on your own. Pick up a guidebook from our visitor center or online shop or use the free mobile website:

We need more trail guides! Are you interested? Please call Melissa Gavilanes at 518-943-7465 ext.5.

Hudson River School Art Trail hikes are made possible through the Carol T. Savage Art Trail Docent Program, named in honor of our late friend and former Board Chairman. 



POSTCARDS from the TRAIL 2014  

Exhibition at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, Sunday September 28, 2014

Artists are invited to participate in the third annual exhibition and sale “Postcards from the Trail 2014” that will take place at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site on September 28, 2014.

For more information:

download and print guidelines 

download and print required entry form

In the 19th-century, painters including Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, Sandford Gifford, Jasper Cropsey, and many others who were part of the art movement now known as the Hudson River School, created sublime landscape images throughout the Hudson Valley and beyond. Today, artists continue to create work that is inspired and informed by their experience in the very same landscapes. In 2005 the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, in partnership with Olana, and numerous other organizations, launched the Hudson River School Art Trail, a series of hiking and driving trails that lead visitors to the places that inspired great landscape paintings of the 19th century. In June 2012 the Trail was greatly expanded, more than doubling its original size. In addition, the Trail maps, images, and in-depth cultural content were converted to a digital format, made available for free online and optimized for mobile devices.

To celebrate the Art Trail and the many artists who continue to be inspired by these landscapes, all artists are again invited to visit one or more of the 22 sites on the Hudson River School Art Trail, and to create and submit an original postcard-sized painting or drawing that is based on one of the iconic sites. A complete list of eligible Trail sites, from views of the Hudson River to the magnificent Kaaterskill Falls to the Mohonk “Gunks”, is below. 


Community Day Open House    Photo by Thatcher Keats

September 28, 1-4 pm

Come one, come all to the 4th annual Community Day! From 1-4 Thomas Cole's home and the galleries will be open free of charge, with activities for the whole family. Visitors can view the house, special exhibitions, and see original artworks made for the 3rd annual exhibition, “Postcards from the Trail". There will be live music by the Coxsackie Community Band, music from the 1860s by the 77th NY Regimental Balladeers, and Frank Cuthbert will perform original songs about Rip Van Winkle in conjunction with Alice Tunison’s reading of the famous story by Washington Irving. Refreshments will be served and there will be demonstrations by rope maker Mike Speranza, tinsmith Art Thorman, beekeeper Cathy Jordan, spinner Vicki Watt, and wax artist Maria Kolodziej-Zincio. Children may pet farm animals and all may take a view into a camera obscura.  


9th Annual Raymond Beecher Lecture 

Thomas Cole and Arcadian America 

Dr. Aaron SachsThomas Cole, The Arcadian or Pastoral State, The Course of Empire, The New-York Historical Society

Sunday, October 19, 2 pm

Until the trauma of the Civil War, many Americans sought to shape society into what they thought of as an Arcadia—not an Eden where fruit simply fell off the tree, but a public garden that depended on an ethic of communal care, and whose sense of beauty and repose related directly to an acknowledgement of mortality and limitation. Join Dr. Aaron Sachs, Associate Professor of History and American studies, and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Cornell University, as he explores the notion of Arcadia in the works of Thomas Cole, and holds up for comparison the twenty-first century's—and his own—tendency toward denial of both death and environmental limits. His far-reaching insights suggest new possibilities for the environmental movement today and new ways of understanding American history.  Dr. Sachs will also sign copies of his new book, Arcadian America: The Death and Life of an Environmental Tradition (2013) after the talk.

Tickets are $9 or $8 for members, and is first-come-first-served at the Temple next door to the Thomas Cole Historic Site. Sponsored by the New York Council for the Humanities. Many thanks to Temple Israel for providing the venue and parking.  


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