America 18/70

Thomas Cole – Artist or Eco-Warrior?

The solemn beauty of the Catskills inspired America’s first great landscape artists.

The view of the Catskills from the verandah of Thomas Cole’s house

Thomas Cole made his first trip to Catskill in 1825. The resulting paintings created a sensation and launched the Hudson River School of Art.

A View of the Two Lakes and Mountain House 1844

Cole believed art to be an agent of moral and spiritual transformation and he sought to warn America not to do to nature what industrial England had done. He warned about the perils that unchecked industry posed to the natural world. Born in Bolton, Cole knew all about the polluted and overcrowded world of factories belching smoke. To Cole, the greed that precipitated the American land grab heralded environmental ruin.

From an tourist Information board, Catskill Mountains

Fellow artists did not all agree with his warnings and the Catskills became a popular tourist destination, particularly The Mountain House Hotel.

Mountain House Tourist Information Board

As a keen fan of psycho-geography, I just had to follow in their footsteps!  Spot the lady in pink, standing on the precipice of the former site of the Mountain House Hotel!