Columbus Museum of Art (CMA) will present Thomas Cole: The Artist as Architect November 18, 2016 through February 12, 2017. This is the first exhibition to focus on the little-known fact that the renowned leader of the Hudson River School of American landscape painting realized three buildings and had plans for others before his untimely death. The exhibition also commemorates the recreation of Thomas Cole’s studio and includes paintings that reveal Cole’s architectural proclivity, drawings that document his recurrent focus on architectural structures, and elevations and floor plans for his built and visionary projects.
The Hudson River School of art, which Thomas Cole founded, dominated American visual arts between 1825 and about 1870 and helped to stimulate interest in environmental preservation, ultimately laying the groundwork for the establishment of the national park system. Hudson River School landscape art continues to influence contemporary artists. However, few people realize that Cole designed buildings. One of Cole’s notable architectural achievements is his design for the Ohio State Capital and the exhibition will include drawings made by Cole of the Ohio State Capital. It will also include Cole’s landscape paintings, some showing ancient ruins inspired by his European travels, others with 19th-century grand houses. Central to the show is Cole’s visionary painting The Architect’s Dream (1840), on loan from the Toledo Museum of Art and Cole’s The Cascatelli, Tivoli, Looking Towards Rome (circa 1832) from the permanent collection of the Columbus Museum of Art.
The exhibition is curated by Annette Blaugrund, an independent scholar, author, and curator who was director of the National Academy Museum, New York for 11 years. She has worked at the Brooklyn Museum, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the New York Historical Society. She has taught at Columbia University, where she earned her PhD in art history. She has written numerous books on American art, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy in 2008, and was named Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government in 1992. CMA Curator-At-Large Carole Genshaft has organized the Columbus presentation.
Thomas Cole: The Artist as Architect was organized by the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. It is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts as part of an overarching project entitled “Thomas Cole and the Roots of the Conservation Movement.” Additional support was provided by the County Initiative Program of the Greene County Legislature, administered by the Greene County Council on the Arts.
The museum is at 480 E. Broad St., Columbus. For more information, visit columbusmuseum.org or call 614-221-6801.
Information for this story was provided by the Columbus Museum of Art.