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The Course of Empire: The Arcadian or Pastoral State

Classification: 
Is owned by NYHS: 
Yes
Date: 
ca. 1834
Medium: 
Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 
Overall: 39 1/4 x 63 1/4 in. ( 99.7 x 160.7 cm ) Framed: 53 x 76 1/2 x 5 3/4 in. ( 134.6 x 194.3 x 14.6 cm )
Description: 

Thomas Cole. The Course of Empire: The Arcadian or Pastoral State, 1834. Oil on canvas, 39 1/4 x 63 1/4 in. New-York Historical Society, Gift of The New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts.

Credit Line: 
Gift of The New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts
Object Number: 
1858.2
Marks: 
signed lower right center: 'T.C.'
Gallery Label: 

In the late 1820s the young Thomas Cole quickly built a successful career as a painter of Hudson River landscapes, but he harbored ambitions of turning the landscape form to a larger purpose. As early as 1827 he conceived a cycle of paintings that would illustrate the rise and fall of a civilization, and a few years later he began sketching and developing his ideas. The artist attempted unsuccessfully to persuade Robert Gilmor, a Baltimore patron, to commission the series, and in 1833 he secured a commission from New York merchant Luman Reed to paint a cycle of five paintings for the art gallery in his home. In the resulting series, The Course of Empire, Cole presented a cyclical view of history in which a civilization appears, matures, and collapses. The artist's distinctly pessimistic vision differed from that of many of his peers; in the early years of the United States' history, its future was considered limitless. Cole drew from a number of literary sources, such as Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and Byron's epic Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. The motto he attached to the series was taken from Byron's popular poem: "First freedom, then glory; when that fails, wealth, vice, corruption." The artist finally settled on a title in 1835, taken from Bishop George Berkeley's 1729 poem, "Verses on the Prospect of Planting Arts and Learning in America," which begins "Westward the Course of Empire takes its way." Cole also drew upon paintings he had seen on his recent trip to Europe (1829-32), including the work of J.M.W. Turner and Claude Lorrain. The five paintings follow a dramatic narrative arc, anchored by the imperturbable mountain in the background, and expounded with rich and complex symbolic systems that illustrate this imaginary world's history, including the course of the sun across the sky, the changing relation of man to nature, the role of animals, the arts, and the military, and even the placement and character of his own signature. Luman Reed, Cole's generous patron, did not live to see the completion of the series. He died in June of 1836, but Reed's family encouraged Cole to complete the work. The series was exhibited to great acclaim in New York later that year. The Course of Empire, along with the rest of Reed's collection, became the core of the New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts. That group of works was donated to the New-York Historical Society in 1858, forming the foundation of its acclaimed collection of American landscape painting. In this second painting in the series Cole imagined a society in a state of ideal balance between man and nature. In an earlier conception of the series the artist described this stage as the epitome of human development, calling it simply "Civilization." Appropriately, he turned to the famed seventeenth-century landscape painter Claude Lorrain's pastoral idylls for inspiration in this harmoniously ordered scene. Cole wrote his patron Luman Reed of his intentions for the picture: "[It] must be the pastoral state -- the day further advanced . . . the scene partly cultivated-a rude village near the bay. . . groups of peasants either pursuing their labours in the field . . . or engaged in some simple amusement." In this morning scene the arts of civilization are flowering: animals are being domesticated at center, dancers pirouette to the music of a flute at right, and smoke emits from a Stonehenge-like temple in a rudimentary form of worship. At the lower left a man draws a geometric form on the ground suggesting the birth of mathematics. The viewer's eye is irresistibly drawn to a boy bathed in light on the footbridge at lower center, whose drawing of a stick figure points to the visual arts. Cole identified himself with this early vision of the arts by placing his initials on the bridge below the boy. He also introduced a disquieting harbinger of this society's future in the man in military garb just emerging from a cleft in the hills near nearby.

Provenance: 

Luman Reed, d. 1836; Mrs. Luman Reed, New York, 1836-44; New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts, 1844-58.

Bibliography: 

Morris, G. P., ed., "The Fine Arts," The New-York Mirror, A Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts, Vol. XII, No. 23, December 6, 1834, p. 179. Morris, G. P., ed., "The Fine Arts," The New-York Mirror, A Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts, Vol. XIII, April 2, 1836, p. 318. Morris, G. P., ed., "The Fine Arts," The New-York Mirror, A Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts, Vol. XIV, No. 17, October 22, 1836, p. 135. Morris, G. P., ed., "The Fine Arts," The New-York Mirror, A Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts, Vol. XIV, No. 18, October 29, 1836, p. 142. Clark, Lewis Gaylord, ed. The Knickerbocker, Vol. VIII, No. 5, November, 1836, pp. 81, 630. Morris, G. P., ed., "The Fine Arts," The New-York Mirror, A Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts, Vol. XIV, No. 19, November 4, 1836, p. 150. "Amusements," New York Commercial Advertiser, Vol. XXXIX, Friday, November 4, 1836, n.p. Morris, G. P., ed., "The Fine Arts," The New-York Mirror, A Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts, Vol. XIV, No. 20, November 12, 1836, p. 158. Morris, G. P., ed., "The Fine Arts," The New-York Mirror, A Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts, Vol. XIV, No. 27, December 31, 1836, p. 215. Poe, Edgar Allen, ed., "The New York Gallery of the Fine Arts," The Broadway Journal, I, February 15,1845, pp. 102-103. Bryant, William Cullen, Funeral Oration, occasioned by the Death of Thomas Cole, Delivered Before the National Academy of Design, New-York, May 4, 1848, New York, D. Appleton & Company, pp. 23-4, 26. Exhibition of the Paintings of the late Thomas Cole, at the Gallery of the American Art-Union, 1848, pp. 19-20. Noble, Louis Legrand, The Course of Empire, Voyage of life, and Other Pictures of Thomas Cole, N. A., With Selections from his Letters and Miscellaneous Writings: Illustrative of his Life, Character, and Genius, New York: Cornish, Lamport & Company, 1853, n.p. Stillman, W. J. & Durand, J. Eds., "The Artists of America," The Crayon, Vol. VII, No. 2, February 1860, pp. 45-6. Hone, Philip, The Diary of Philip Hone 1828-1851, New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1889, p. 236. Durand, John, The Life and Times of Asher B. Durand, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1894; Reprint, Hensonville, NY: Black Dome Press, 2007), p. 124. Caffin, Charles H., The Story of American Painting: The Evolution of Painting in America from Colonial Times to the Present, New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1907, pp. 66, 69-70. Mather, Frank Jewett, Morey, Charles Rufus, and Henderson, William James, The Pageant of America: The American Spirit in Art, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1927, p. 43. Isham, Samuel, The History of American Painting, New York: The MacMillan Company, 1936, pp. 225-6. Sweet, Frederick A. "Asher B. Durand, Pioneer, American Landscape Painter," The Art Quarterly, Vol. 8, No. 2, Spring, 1945, pp. 141, 153. Howe, Winifred E., A History of the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a Chapter on the Early Institutions of Art in New York. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1946, pp. 62-7 Thomas Cole: One Hundred Years Later, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT 1948, pp. 10-1. Tunnard, Christopher, "Reflections on the Course of Empire and other Architectural Fantasies of Thomas Cole, N.A.," The Architectural Review, Vol. 104, December 1948, pp. 291-294. Davidson, Marshall, "Whither the Course of Empire?" American Heritage, October 1957, pp. 52-5, 58-61, 104. Flexner, James Thomas, That Wilder Image: The Painting of America's Native School from Thomas Cole to Winslow Homer, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1962, pp. 49-58, 108, 354. McCoubrey, John, American Tradition in Painting, New York: G. Braziller, 1963, p. 65. Exhibition at Kennedy Galleries, New York, 1964, pp. 14, 26-7. Noble, Louis Legrand, The Life and Works of Thomas Cole, Hensonville, New York: Black Dome Press, 1964, pp. 103, 112, 129-131, 149-50, 155, 157-9, 164-74, 264, 268, 287. Wallach, Alan P., "The Origins of Thomas Cole's 'Course of Empire,'" M.A. Thesis, Columbia University, 1965. Lawall, David B., Asher Brown Durand: His Art and Art Theory in Relation to His Times, PhD Dissertation, Princeton, 1966, pp. 170-92, 288-9. Callow, James T., Kindred Spirits: Knickerbocker Writers and American Artists, 1807-1855, Durham, North Carolina, The University of North Carolina Press, 1967, p. 157. Annual II: Studies on Thomas Cole, An American Romanticist, Baltimore, Maryland: Baltimore Museum of Art, 1967, pp. 72-4. Wallach, Alan P., "Cole, Byron, and the Course of Empire," The Art Bulletin, Vol. 50, No. 4, December 1968, pp. 375-9. Dunlap, William, A History of the Rise and Progress of The Arts of Design in the United States, A Reprint of the Original 1834 Edition with a New Introduction by James Thomas Flexner, Vol. 2, Part 2, New York: Dover Publications, 1969, p. 366. Baur, John I. H., The Autobiography of Worthington Whittredge 1820-1910, New York: Arno Press, 1969, pp. 40-1. Parry, Elwood, Thomas Cole's "The Course of Empire:" A Study in Serial Imagery, PhD Dissertation, Yale, 1970, pp. 254-60. Glassie, Henry H., "Thomas Cole and Niagara Falls," The New-York Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. LVIII, No. 2, April 1974, p. 89. Novak, Barbara, "The Double-Edged Axe," Art in America, Vol. 64, No. 1, Jan.-Feb. 1976, pp. 44-50. New York State Museum, New York: The State of Art, Albany, New York: The New York State Museum, 1977, pp. 25, 30-1, and exhibition catalog, Mann, Maybelle, The American Art-Union, Jupiter FL: ALM Associates, c. 1977, pp. 15-7. Davidson, Abraham A., The Eccentrics and Other American Visionary Painters, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1978, pp. 16-9, 138. Lynes, Russell, "Luman Reed: A New York Patron," Apollo, Vol. 107, No. 192, 1978, pp. 124-9. Cikovsky Jr., Nicolai, "'The Ravages of the Axe:" The Meaning of the Tree Stump in Nineteenth-Century American Art," The Art Bulletin, Vol. 61, No. 4, Dec., 1979, pp. 611-26. Craven, Wayne, "Luman Reed, patron: His Collection and Gallery," The American Art Journal, Vol. XII,, Spring 1980, pp. 43, 45, 50-6. Parry III, Ellwood C., "Thomas Cole's Ideas for Mr. Reed's Doors," The American Art Journal, Vol. XII,, Summer 1980, pp. 33-45. Baigell, Matthew, Thomas Cole, New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1981, pp. 16-9, 49-50, 52, 82. Treuttner, William H., "The Art of History: American Exploration and Discovery Scenes, 1840-1860," The American Art Journal, Vol. XIV, No. 1, Winter 1982, pp. 4-31. Kasson, Joy S., Artistic Voyagers: Europe and the American Imagination in the Works of Irving, Allston, Cole, Cooper and Hawthorne, Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1982, 84-90, 111-129. Koke, Richard J., American Landscape and Genre Paintings in the New-York Historical Society, Vol. I, New York: The New-York Historical Society, 1982, pp. 192-200. Tammenga, Michael J., The Beautiful, the Sublime, and The Picturesque: British Influences on American Landscape Painting, St. Louis Missouri: Washington University, 1984, p. 57. Maddox, Kenneth W., "Thomas Cole and the Railroad: Gentle Maledictions," Archives of American Art Journal, Vol. 26, No. 1, 1986, pp. 2-10. Kelly, Franklin, and Carr, Gerald L., The Early Landscapes of Frederic Edwin Church, 1845-1854, Fort Worth, Texas: Amon Carter Museum, 1987, p. 66. Menefee, Ellen Avitts, The Early Biblical Landscapes of Thomas Cole (1825-1829), Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI, 1987, p. 40, 80, 145. Miller, Angela, "Thomas Cole and Jacksonian America: The Course of Empire as Political Allegory," Prospects, Vol. 14, 1989, pp. 65-92. Powell, Earl A., Thomas Cole. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1990, pp. 62-71, 184. Foshay, Ella M., Luman Reed's Picture Gallery: Pioneer Collection of American Art, New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1990, pp. 59-61, 130-40, 207-8. Platt, Susan, "Paradigms and Paradoxes: Nature, Morality, and Art in America," Art Journal, Vol. 51, No. 2, Summer 1992, pp. 82-88. Bryant II, William Cullen, Highlands Sketches: The Hudson River in the Eye of the Beholder, Mount Taurus Press, Nelsonville, New York: 1993, p. 13. Bailey, Brigitte, "The Protected Witness: Cole, Cooper, and the Tourist's View of the Italian Landscape," American Iconology: New Approaches to Nineteenth-Century Art and Literature, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1993, pp. 92, 110. Daniels, Stephen, Fields of Vision: Landscape Imagery and National Identity in England and the United States, Cambridge: Polity Press, 1993, pp. 158-161. Robinson, Christine T., Guest Curator, Thomas Cole: Drawn to Nature, Albany, NY: Albany Institute of History & Art, 1993, pp. 34, 49-50, 52. Griffin, Randall C., "The Untrammeled Vision: Thomas Cole and the Dream of the Artist," Art Journal, Vol. 52, No. 2, Summer 1993, pp. 71. Nutty, Carolyn Sue Himelick, Joseph Harrison, Jr. (1810-1874): Philadelphia Art Collector, Vol. I, dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of Delaware in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Art History, Fall 1993, pp. 47-8. Caldwell, John and Roque, Oswaldo Rodriguez, American Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Vol. I, A Catalogue of Works by Artists Born by 1815, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994, pp. 459-61. Wallach, Alan, "Museums and Resistance to History," The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 21, 1994, pp. B3-5. Cooper, James F., Knights of the Brush: The Hudson River School and the Moral Landscape, New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1999, pp. 31, 45-8, 77, 80. Koja, Stephan, Ed. AMERICA: The New World in 19th-Century Painting, Munich: New York: Prestel, 1999, pp. 25-7, 215, 235. Goldfarb, Hilliard T., Hirschler, Erica E., Lears, T. J. Jackson, Sargeant: The Late Landscapes, Boston: University Press of New England, 1999, pp. 8-9. New-York Historical Society, Perspectives on the Collections of the New-York Historical Society, New York: The New-York Historical Society, 2000, p. 28-30. Georgi, Karen L., "Asher B. Durand's American Landscapes and the Nature of Representation," PhD Dissertation, Boston University, 2000, pp. 115-7. Bedell, Rebecca, The Anatomy of Nature: Geology & American Landscape Painting, 1825-1875, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2001, pp. 26, 29, 33, 36, 38-41, 45. Wilton, Andrew & Barringer, Tim, American Sublime: Landscape Painting in the United States 1820-1880, London: Tate, 2002, pp. 23-4, 46, 51-3, 87, 95-109. Belli, Gabriella, Giacomoni, Paola, Cavino, Anna Ottani, curators, Montagna: Arte, scienza, Mito da Durer a Warhol, Milano: Skira, 2003, pp. 189-201. Simon, Janice, "Impressed in Memory: John Frederick Kensett's Italian Scene," Classic Ground: Mid-Nineteenth Century American Painting and the Italian Encounter, Athens, Georgia: Georgia Museum of Art, 2004, pp. 51-69. Payne, Christine, and Vaughn, William, eds., English Accents: Interactions with British Art c. 1776-1853, Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2004, pp. 10, 246. Burgard, Timothy Anglin, Ed., "Thomas Cole, Prometheus Bound," Masterworks of American Painting at the De Young, San Francisco: Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, 2005, pp. 70-3, 483-4. Ramirez, Jan Seidler, "A History of the New-York Historical Society," The Magazine Antiques, January 2005, pp. 140-1. Vedder, Lee A., "Nineteenth-century American paintings," The Magazine Antiques, January, 2005, pp. 148-9. De Salvo, Donna and Norden, Linda, "Course of Empire: Waste and Retrieval," Course of Empire, Exhibition Publication for the United States Pavilion at the 51st International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, June 12-November 6, 2005, n.p. McDaniel, Amy Ellis, "Works on Paper by Thomas Cole in the Detroit Institute of Arts," Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts, Vol. 80, No. ½, 2006, pp. 16-25. Keck, Michaela, Walking in the Wilderness: The Peripatetic Tradition in Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Painting, Heidelberg: Winter, 2006, pp. 71-3, 75, 77. Novak, Barbara, American Painting of the Nineteenth Century: Realism, Idealism, and the American Experience, New York: Oxford University Press, 2007, pp. 47-8, 51, 54. Kornhauser, Elizabeth M., "The Hudson River School: Landscape Art in America, 1820-1870," America: Storie di pittura dal Nuovo Mondo", Italy: Linea d'Ombra Libri, 2007, p. 28. Hirshler, Erica Eve, "Nineteenth Century American Painters in Italy's 'Great University of Art,'" America: Storie di pittura dal Nuovo Mondo", Italy: Linea d'Ombra Libri, 2007, p. 75 Vedder, Lee A. "Nineteenth-century American paintings." The Magazine Antiques 167 (2005): 146-155. Bland, Bartholomew F. and Vookles, Laura L. The Panoramic River: The Hudson and the Thames. Yonkers: Hudson River Museum, 2013. Bland, Bartholomew F., et al. Industrial Sublime: Modernism and the Transformation of New York's Rivers, 1900-1940. Yonkers: Hudson River Museum, 2013.

Date End: 
1834
eMuseum Object ID: 
56323
Sort order: 
1
Exclude from TMS update: 
OFF
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Sunset, View on the Catskill

Collections: 
Classification: 
Date: 
1833
Medium: 
Oil on wood panel
Dimensions: 
Unframed: 16 1/2 x 24 1/2 in. (41.9 x 62.2 cm) Framed: 25 1/4 × 33 3/8 × 3 1/2 in. (64.1 × 84.8 × 8.9 cm)
Description: 
A view in oval format of North Mountain as seen from Catskill Creek at sunset in the Catskill Mountains. View features a wooden structure on the hill at the right and an animal drinking at the water's edge, as well as a lone fisherman in a boat in the left foreground.
Credit Line: 
Gift of The New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts
Object Number: 
1858.44
Gallery Label: 
This is one of the first works that Cole created for his patron, New York merchant Luman Reed. The artist had just returned from a trip to Europe with the canvases of the great seventeenth-century landscape painter Claude Lorrain fresh in his mind. He had depicted this site - North Mountain seen from Catskill Creek - several times, and here he applied a classic Claudean formula to the scene, depicting a view across a reflective watery surface that takes the eye through clearly delineated foreground, middle, and distant space that is enclosed on one side a by dense vertical mass of foliage. An oil sketch (private collection) shows that Cole did not directly reproduce the scene before him, but he created a pastoral mood by positioning the trees to better "frame" the scene and reduced the size of the rowboat. He also added a wooden structure on the hill at right and an animal along the shore. Cole must have been pleased with the composition, since he used it again; he painted a replica of this work (Albany Institute of History and Art) that he later developed further into a more complex composition several years later entitled North Mountain and Catskill Creek, 1838 (Yale University Art Gallery). When Sunset, View on the Catskill was exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1834, American Monthly Magazine gently chided Cole for a "certain mannerism," perhaps referring to the artist's use of compositional devices that departed from the exact topography of the landscape; such criticisms vexed Cole throughout his career. However, the New York Evening Post called it "gorgeous," and when James B. Smillie executed an engraving of the painting the following year it earned similar praise.
Provenance: 
Luman Reed, d. 1836; Mrs. Luman Reed, New York, 1836-44; New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts, 1844-58.
Bibliography: 
"Editor's Table," The Knickerbocker, Vol. III, May, 1834, pp. 399-400. Herbert, Henry William, "Miscellaneous Notices of the Fine Arts, Literature, Science, The Drama & National Academy of Design. - 9th Exhibition, 1834," The American Monthly Magazine, Vol. III, May 1, 1834, p. 27. Morris, G. P., ed., "The National Academy: Second Notice," The New-York Mirror, A Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts, Vol. 11, May 17, 1834, p. 3. Morris, G. P., ed., "The Fine Arts," The New-York Mirror, A Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts, Vol. 12, May 30, 1835, p. 379, No. 82. "Editor's Table," The Knickerbocker, Vol. III, June 1834, p. 400. "National Academy of Design," The New York Evening Post, June 5, 1834, p. 2. Lynes, Russell, "Luman Reed: A New York Patron," Apollo, Vol. 107, No. 192, 1978, pp. 124-9. Craven, Wayne, "Luman Reed, Patron: His Collection and Gallery," The American Art Journal, Vol. XII, No. 2, Spring 1980, p. 53. Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin, vol. 39, Winter 1986, pp. 24-9. Koke, Richard J., American Landscape and Genre Paintings in the New-York Historical Society, Vol. I, New York: The New-York Historical Society, 1982, pp. 190-1. Foshay, Ella M., Mr. Luman Reed's Picture Gallery: A Pioneer Collection of American Art, New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1990, pp. 124-5, 206.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1833
eMuseum Object ID: 
56311
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Landscape (Moonlight)

Collections: 
Classification: 
Date: 
ca. 1833-34
Medium: 
Oil on canvas (relined)
Dimensions: 
Overall: 24 5/8 x 31 3/4 in. ( 62.5 x 80.6 cm ) Framed: 33 1/2 × 41 1/2 × 3 1/2 in. (85.1 × 105.4 × 8.9 cm)
Credit Line: 
Gift of The New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts
Object Number: 
1858.31
Gallery Label: 
Cole painted this work in about 1833-34 for his patron Luman Reed, using sketches from his first European tour (from 1829 to 1832) to compose a pastoral night scene. The scene is based in part on Lord Byron's 1816 poem entitled "Parasina," which recounts the incestuous love of the eponymous queen for her stepson, who was beheaded when their affair was uncovered. When Cole exhibited the painting at the National Academy of Design in 1834 it was accompanied with verses from the opening of the poem: It is the hour when from the boughs The nightingale's high note is heard; It is the hour when lovers' vows Seem sweet in every whisper'd word; And gentle winds, and waters near, Make music to the lonely ear. Each flower the dews have lightly wet, And in the sky the stars are met, And on the wave is deeper blue, And on the leaf a browner hue, And in the heaven that clear obscure, So softly dark, and darkly pure, Which follows the decline of day, As twilight melts beneath the moon away. Cole was fascinated by Byron's works in the early 1830s, taking them as subjects for his paintings The Fountain of Egeria (unlocated) and Manfred (Yale University Art Gallery). However, the artist carefully avoided direct references to the shocking story, and seems to have used it to set a romantic mood for his moonlit setting. Cole chose not to include Byron's introductory note explaining the origins of the story. Instead he quoted only the opening lines, which describe the lovely night scene that he depicted, with the moon and stars dramatically illuminating the landscape below. At the lower left a man dressed in a medieval costume plays the lute for a woman, bringing to mind the troubadour tradition of singing narrative poems - perhaps he is relating the story that Bryon related in his poem. The tower at right is illuminated with lurid red torchlight, and two men are entering on the lower level as light streams out of the narrow window higher up. The scene suggests that the lovers are about to be discovered, though no such incident takes place in Byron's poem. Rather than directly illustrating an episode from a literary work, as he had done in his series of scenes from James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans in the late 1820s (see the N-YHS painting Romantic Landscape (Last of the Mohicans), 1947.417), Cole used Byron's work as he had his European sketches, as a point of departure to create a narrative of his own imagining.
Provenance: 
Luman Reed, d. 1836; Mrs. Luman Reed, New York, 1836-44; New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts, 1844-58.
Bibliography: 
Clark, Lewis Gaylord, ed. The Knickerbocker, Vol. III, No. 5, May, 1834, pp. 399-400. Herbert, Henry William, "Miscellaneous Notices of the Fine Arts, Literature, Science, The Drama & National Academy of Design. - 9th Exhibition, 1834," The American Monthly Magazine III, May 1, 1834, p. 212. Morris, G. P., ed., "The National Academy: Second Notice," The New-York Mirror, A Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts, May 17, 1834, p. 3. Herbert, Henry William,"Fine Arts in America: National Academy of Design, Tenth Annual Exhibition," The American Monthly Magazine V (June, 1835), p. 317. Seaver, Esther, ed., Thomas Cole, 1801-1848, One Hundred Years Later, Hartford, Ct.: Wadsworth Atheneum, 1949, p. 24, No. 28. Craven, Wayne, "Luman Reed, Patron: His Collection and Gallery," The American Art Journal, Vol. XII, No. 2 Spring 1980, p. 53. Koke, Richard J., American Landscape and Genre Paintings in the New-York Historical Society, Vol. I, New York: The New-York Historical Society, 1982, pp. 191-2. Foshay, Ella M., Mr. Luman Reed's Picture Gallery: A Pioneer Collection of American Art, New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1990, pp. 126-7, 206. Novak, Barbara, American Painting of the Nineteenth Century: Realism, Idealism, and the American Experience, New York: Oxford University Press, 2007, pp. 52-3.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1833
eMuseum Object ID: 
55950
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Autumn Thunderbolt

Classification: 
Medium: 
Oil on linen glued to panel
Dimensions: 
canvas: 11 5/8 x 13 1/2 in. ( 29.5 x 34.3 cm ) frame: 13 1/4 x 15 3/8 in. ( 33.7 x 39.1 cm )
Credit Line: 
Purchase
Object Number: 
2004.28.3
Marks: 
Stamp: in ink on verso: address stamp with name and address of artist Inscription: in ink: name, address, and telephone number of artist
Gallery Label: 
Pamela Talese has been documenting with paint on canvas the many faceted changes to New York City's neighborhoods, concentrating especially on architectural structures in and around her Queens neighborhood that had become cultural icons without attaining official landmark status. Here she depicts Coney Island's Thunderbolt rollercoaster, designed and built by John Miller, innovator of the modern high speed rollercoaster. The Thunderbolt opened in 1925 and remained in operation until 1983. It was perhaps best known for its appearance in Woody Allen's film, "Annie Hall," in scenes set in the house beneath it, which remained occupied through the 1980s. Supporters of the Thunderbolt were unable to gain landmark status for the attractions and the rollercoaster was demolished on November 17, 2000.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
0
eMuseum Object ID: 
55919
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Storm on Maspeth Avenue

Classification: 
Medium: 
Oil on linen glued to panel
Dimensions: 
canvas: 11 3/4 x 14 5/8 in. ( 29.8 x 37.1 cm ) frame: 13 1/4 x 16 3/16 in. ( 33.7 x 41.1 cm )
Credit Line: 
Purchase
Object Number: 
2004.28.2
Marks: 
Stamp: in ink on verso: address stamp with name and address of artist
Gallery Label: 
With paint on canvas, Queens resident Pamela Talese has been documenting the many faceted changes to neighborhoods around the borough at least since the 1990s. Here, she depicts the Maspeth Gas Tanks, situated at the intersection of Vandervoort and Maspeth Avenues for much of the 20th century and a directional landmark both for drivers of cars and for pilots flying into nearby LaGuardia Airport. Situated in an industrial area on the outskirts of residential neighborhoods on the Brooklyn / Queens border, the first of the two tanks, known more properly as "holders," was built in 1927, followed in 1948 by its twin. Until the 1990s, the Maspeth Avenue Holders were used to provide constant pressure in residential gas lines. In 2001, KeySpan, formerly Brooklyn Union Gas, gained permission to implode the tanks from the New York City Department of Buildings, but the demolition plans, which were thought to cause the release of lead dust and other materials, met with neighborhood opposition on environmental and public health grounds. The tanks ultimately were destroyed in 2001, after negotiation with community groups on health and safety issues.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
0
eMuseum Object ID: 
55918
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Eagle Electric V

Classification: 
Date: 
2000
Medium: 
Oil on linen glued to panel
Dimensions: 
canvas: 12 x 14 15/16 in. ( 30.5 x 37.9 cm ) frame: 14 3/8 x 17 1/2 in. ( 36.5 x 44.4 cm )
Credit Line: 
Purchase
Object Number: 
2004.28.1
Marks: 
Stamp: in ink on verso: address stamp with name and address of artist
Gallery Label: 
Pamela Talese has been documenting with paint on canvas the many faceted changes to neighborhoods around Queens at least since the 1990s. Here, she depicts one of the Eagle Electric factory buildings in Long Island City, where she resided in 1993, and its neon billboard displaying the company motto, "Perfection is not an accident." The billboad and motto had become an icon, visible to drivers on the Queensboro Bridge, riders of the #7 subway train, and residents across the river. Eagle Electric Manufacturing Company was founded in 1920 as a maker of electrical devices, switches and circuit units. The company occupied a variety of buildings in Long Island City from 1941 until the turn of the century, when the company was purchased by Cooper Industries to form Cooper Wiring Devices, Inc. Once the new owner moved its production facilities outside of New York, the largest factory building was converted into residential lofts, epitomizing the neighborhood's slow transformation from industrial to residential. The sign ceased to be illuminated at about that time and soon thereafter was removed from the building.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
2000
eMuseum Object ID: 
55917
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes (1867-1944)

Classification: 
Date: 
1930
Medium: 
Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 
canvas: 50 x 40 in. ( 127 x 101.6 cm ) frame: 57 x 47 x 2 1/4 in. ( 144.8 x 119.4 x 5.7 cm )
Credit Line: 
Painted from life for the Society
Object Number: 
1930.19
Marks: 
signature and date: lower left: "DeWitt M. Lockman / 1930"
Gallery Label: 
Architect, author, and philanthropist, I. N. Phelps Stokes was born in New York, the eldest son of Anson Phelps Stokes and Helen Louisa (Phelps) Stokes. He was a partner of Howells and Stokes, a New York architectural firm whose projects included the design for St. Paul's Chapel at Columbia University. Stokes, the author of the six-volume "Iconography of Manhattan Island" (1915-28), was the first recipient of the Society's gold medal for achievement in history in 1925.
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1930
eMuseum Object ID: 
55800
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Robert Fulton (1765-1815)

Classification: 
Date: 
ca. 1806
Medium: 
Oil on wood panel
Dimensions: 
Overall: 38 x 27 1/2 in. ( 96.5 x 69.8 cm )
Credit Line: 
Gift of Mrs. William Bayard Cutting
Object Number: 
1943.312
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1806
eMuseum Object ID: 
55764
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945)

Classification: 
Date: 
1930
Medium: 
Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 
Overall: 36 x 29 in. ( 91.4 x 73.7 cm )
Credit Line: 
Gift of the artist
Object Number: 
1945.115
Marks: 
inscription: lower right: "Unfinished Portrait of / Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt / Painted from Life, In City of / New York, February 1930. / DeWitt M. Lockman, N.A."
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1930
eMuseum Object ID: 
55761
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)

Classification: 
Date: 
ca. 1943
Medium: 
Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 
Overall: 30 x 25 in. ( 76.2 x 63.5 cm )
Credit Line: 
Gift of George A. Zabriskie
Object Number: 
1943.252
Marks: 
signature: upper left: "Rittenberg" inscription: on back of canvas: "Theodore Roosevelt / Painted from photo / by / Henry R. Rittenberg / N.A."
Date Begin: 
0
Date End: 
1943
eMuseum Object ID: 
55760
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

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Creative: Tronvig Group