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Thomas Hill

“The Artist of Yosemite"

1829-1908

American Landscape Painter associated with the Hudson River School

Artistically and stylistically influenced by the following painters -  Benjamin Champney, Thomas Cole, Virgil Williams and  Frederic Edwin Church,

Education - Pennsylvania Academy of Design

Cause of Death - natural causes

Mediums - oil on canvas

About the Artist

About the Artist

Thomas Hill immigrated to the United States from England at the age of 15. He initially earned his living at various decorative painting jobs. In his mid-twenties he studied art in Pennsylvania and later Paris. The young painter was especially drawn to the romance and adventure of landscape painting. His honed his painting skills while on expeditions with fellow Hudson River School painters, often spending weeks trekking across  the White Mountains in New Hampshire and the Hudson Valley. Hill believed that every landscapes had a distinct personality, and a unique story to tell.  In 1870, Hill bought a home near San Francisco, California, so he could devote his painting time exclusively to the majestic Yosemite Valley. During his lifetime Hill’s paintings commanded enormous sums by 19th-century standards. Railroad tycoons and land barons alike eagerly shelled out hefty sums for a Hill original. He is best remembered for his dramatic Yosemite Valley landscapes and skill at capturing the atmospheric effects of light.

Important Artists Associated With The Hudson River School
 
Albert Bierstadt American 1830-1902
Thomas Cole, American, 1801-1848
Herman Herzog German, 1831-1932
Thomas Hill, English, 1829-1908
Thomas Moran English born American1837-1926
George Inness American, 1825-1894 
Frederic Edwin Church, American, 1826-1900
George Loring Brown, American, 1814-1889
Thomas Chambers, English, 1808-1866
Asher B. Durand, American, 1796-1886

The Hudson River School

1825-1875

Throughout the history of the United States, the American wilderness has been fundamentally important in creating a national identity.  The Hudson River School was a mid-19th century American art movement founded by Thomas Cole in 1825. Using the river as inspiration, these painters were celebrated for their realistic depictions of the regions stunning and distinctive landscape. Their radiant, majestic style was influenced by European romanticism. The artists shared common design aesthetics uniting them as a school despite their distinctive styles. The painters focused on the American wilderness, particularly the Hudson River Valley as well as the Catskill Mountains and Adirondack Mountains. The paintings were spectacular and dramatic reflecting the wilderness environment. The artists moved their studios out of doors and sketched directly from nature focusing on the drama of light and shadow. Many paintings depict a  rugged landscape, dramatic sunrise or ominous storm clouds brewing in the distance. The works were painstakingly detailed and celebrate Gods divine handiwork in nature.




  


At the Mill Falls, c.1862, Hermann Ottomar Herzog

The Hudson River School was a mid-19th century American art movement founded by Thomas Cole in 1825. The style was influenced by European romanticism. The artists shared common design aesthetics uniting them as a school despite their distinctive styles. The painters focused on the American wilderness, particularly the Hudson River Valley as well as the Catskill Mountains and Adirondack Mountains. The paintings were spectacular and dramatic reflecting the wilderness environment. The artists moved their studios out of doors and sketched directly from nature focusing on the drama of light and shadow. Many paintings depict a  rugged landscape, dramatic sunrise or ominous storm clouds brewing in the distance. The works were painstakingly detailed and celebrate Gods divine handiwork in nature.


The mid 1850s was a time of unprecedented development for the young nation, and the Hudson River painters depicted the vastness and beautify of a country proud of its natural resources. They embraced nature and showed a remarkable attention to detail within the natural landscape. This school popularized the idea of  Manifest Destiny and came to symbolize American vitality, independence and nationalism. As city life became increasingly chaotic, landscape painting be came increasingly popular with the buying public. Almost every upper-middle class Victorian home had at least one picturesque landscape hanging in the parlor. The paintings were looked upon as a scenic oasis and a visual retreat from modern life. Today, works by the Hudson River school artists are treasured as the first uniquely American school of art and for their beauty and significance to art, history and culture.

Characteristics, terms, words of the the Hudson River School-  unspoiled nature, atmospheric lighting, primeval landscape, theatrical, Catskill, Berkshire, White Mountains, Walt Whitman, American Transcendentalists, spiritual transformation, dramatic instincts, large scale canvasses, Luminist, Romantic school, wilderness, New York, symbolic language, realism,  Western Expansion and Manifest Destiny.

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