Picturing America: Thomas Cole and the Birth of American Art
Picturing America: Thomas Cole and the Birth of American Art
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Annotation: The story of artist Thomas Cole, founder of America's first formal art movement: the Hudson River school of painting.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #168083
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 32 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-399-54867-X
ISBN 13: 978-0-399-54867-3
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2017060153
Dimensions: 24 x 28 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
Talbott limns the life and legacy of Thomas Cole, the nineteenth-century American painter best known for his landscapes and as the originator of the Hudson River school of art. The text is straightforward yet consistently infused with the sense of curiosity that drove Cole to explore and make art. In his own illustrations, Talbott alternately uses narrative-furthering vignettes and sweeping nature scenes. An appended note works in Cole reproductions.
Kirkus Reviews
Watercolorist and illustrator Talbott, a Cole admirer and evangelist, has produced a child-friendly paean to the brief (1801-1848) but productive life of an American landscape-painting pioneer. Born in Britain, Cole immigrated to the United States as a teen, worked as an itinerant craftsman, and began art studies in Philadelphia before moving to New York. Soon, prompted by a patron, Cole took his first voyage up the Hudson and discovered his passion for the American landscape. Though his life was brief, his dramatic paintings struck a deep chord and spawned a wholly new, uniquely American "school"—the Hudson River landscape school. Talbott's admiration is clear, but backmatter is sorely needed: There is no glossary, no timeline, and little detail to help readers grasp the impressive size and ambition of Cole's two major painting series: The Course of Empire (five paintings at 39.5 inches by 63.5 inches each) and The Voyage of Life (four paintings at approximately 52 inches by 72 inches each). Readers will long for context to flesh out cursory references to such influences as England's J.M.W. Turner, mentor American artist John Trumbull, and Cole's artistic progeny, Asher Durand and Frederic Church, as well as the Hudson River landscape school itself. This notwithstanding, Talbott has produced a handsome, valuable companion to River of Dreams (2009) and an accessible and inspired introduction to an important, influential promoter of the unspoiled American landscape. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)
Publishers Weekly
When the industrial revolution limited Thomas Cole-s family-s economic opportunities in England, his dream of coming to America was realized. Life was not easy for a young U.S. immigrant in the 19th century, however. In visual vignettes rendered in mixed-media art, Talbott depicts Cole traveling on foot, sleeping in derelict conditions, and finding salvation through moments spent painting. While taking a steamer trip up the Hudson River, Cole discovered his muse in the striking landscape. He would infuse his paintings of the American wilderness with majesty and romance-characteristics that helped lead to environmental protections in the Hudson Valley. Talbott integrates images from Cole-s oeuvre, including the four paintings from the Voyage of Life series. Ages 6-8. (Sept.)

School Library Journal
Gr 24 Few artists have been able to capture the magic and timeless beauty of the U.S. landscape better than Thomas Cole. He loved to draw from a young age, and when his family settled in Pennsylvania from England, Cole continued to sharpen his artistic skills. Life was a struggle for the family, but he nevertheless pursued his dream of becoming an artist, eventually traveling to New York City to integrate himself into the bustling arts community there. But he longed for the rolling hills of England, so he made his way up through the Hudson River Valley, and history was made: Cole was so captivated by the beauty and majesty of the Catskills landscape that it became the subject of his work and made him the founder of the Hudson River School art movement. As industrialization continued, Cole's art inspired viewers to appreciate and conserve our country's natural lands. The book offers excellent reproductions of Cole's work: text, illustrations, and reproductions combine to trace the evolution of Cole's art and the progression of the Hudson River Movement, including its implications for modern art. VERDICT Readers will fall in love with landscape in this captivating, inspiring picture book. A fine addition to art history collections. Natalie Romano, Denver Public Library
Word Count: 1,879
Reading Level: 5.0
Interest Level: 1-4
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.0 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 199277 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.4 / points:3.0 / quiz:Q75667
Lexile: 820L

This fascinating look at artist Thomas Cole's life takes readers from his humble beginnings to his development of a new painting style that became America's first formal art movement: the Hudson River school of painting.

Thomas Cole was always looking for something new to draw. Born in England during the Industrial Revolution, he was fascinated by tales of the American countryside, and was ecstatic to move there in 1818. The life of an artist was difficult at first, however Thomas kept his dream alive by drawing constantly and seeking out other artists. But everything changed for him when he was given a ticket for a boat trip up the Hudson River to see the wilderness of the Catskill Mountains. The haunting beauty of the landscape sparked his imagination and would inspire him for the rest of his life. The majestic paintings that followed struck a chord with the public and drew other artists to follow in his footsteps, in the first art movement born in America. His landscape paintings also started a conversation on how to protect the country's wild beauty.

Hudson Talbott takes readers on a unique journey as he depicts the immigrant artist falling in love with--and fighting to preserve--his new country.


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