Western Expansion Unit 2

Benjamin West was under a marble slab in Westminster Abbey; Copley had died in obscurity; Stuart was an old, angry semi-alcoholic in Boston. John Trumbull hadn't painted well in 40 years. Then Trumbull stumbled across three canvases in the window of a New York frame shop.

"This young man has done what all my life I attempted in vain to do." (Trumbull about Thomas Cole)

Cole and other artists of the Hudson River School recorded the beauty of the American wilderness.  (At the beginning that wilderness was found in New York state.)  The Hudson River School was not an institution of learning; it was a "school of thought" that focused on the beauty of nature.  Neither was it limited to paintings of the Hudson River valley.

PBS Article about Hudson River School
Pittsburg (Kansas) State University Article about Hudson River School

Others artists portrayed the rapidly-disappearing way of life along the western frontier.

Attitudes toward nature (and paintings of nature) changed during the last half of the 19th Century because of:
1) industrial revolution (nature was to be exploited)
2) Civil War (we had doubts about the beauty of our country)
3) Darwinism (was nature the result of accidents)

QUESTIONBUTTON.GIF (236 bytes) sample quiz for Unit

Quiz for non-frame browsers

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Hudson River / Nature
Thomas Cole
Asher B. Durand
Albert Bierstadt
Frederic Church
John J. Audubon
George Inness
Thomas Moran


The West
George Catlin
Charles Wimar
George C. Bingham
Frederic Remington
Charles Russell