Painting: American Prospects, American Skies

"In the entire history of painting in America there has been no more conspicuous example of being the right man in the right place at the right time," writes Professor Howard Merritt in his introduction to the first major show of the works of Thomas Cole in 20 years.

The nation was young, proud and prickly. Proud of its achievements and of its mighty land, but looking for someone, somehow, to confirm it in its pride. It fell to Cole to see and paint the U.S. with a vision of its grandeur that expressed the young nation's inner vision —of...

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