Frederic Edwin Church


American Landscape Painter associated with the Hudson River School

Artistically and stylistically influenced by the following painters - Thomas Cole, J. M. W. Turner and Asher B. Durand

Education - studied under Thomas Cole

Painting Medium - oil on canvas

Cause of Death - Rheumatism



"If unremitting attention and activity can accomplish anything, it shall not be my fault if I am not a worthy pupil of so distinguished an artist" -- Frederic Church Quote

About the Artist

Possessing special creative talents in childhood, Church received encouragement and approval early in life. With the blessing of his wealthy family he studied under Thomas Cole at the age of eighteen. The two painters became life long friends, often trekking though the Catskill Mountains together for weeks at a time. In 1849 he became an associate member of the National Academy of Design a full member the following year. He is best known for his majestic landscapes and his talent for depicting the drama and power of nature in art. His paintings were collected for their pulsating realism and stunning atmospheric effects. Church found a ready market for his masterworks among the new American elite, including wealthy railroad magnates, robber barons and mining industrialists. He was a founding trustee of the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.

The Hudson River School


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.

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. 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




Key Descriptive Words  and Phrases associated with 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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Principle 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
John Frederick Kensett, American, 1816-1872
Jasper Francis Cropsey, American, 1823-1900
Martin Heade, American, 1819-1904