Thomas Cole (1801 - 1848)
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Born in Bolton, Lancashire, England, Thomas Cole is regarded as the founder of the Hudson River School. In 1818, Cole emigrated to the United States and settled in Ohio, where he studied under a wandering portrait painter, Stein. Cole's interests soon shifted from portraits to landscape. After rejoining his family in New York City in 1825, Cole painted the famous Catskill Mountain House and Kaaterskill Falls. While Cole was primarily a landscape painter, he was also known for painting allegorical works, the most famous of them being The Course of Empire, a five-part series depicting the same landscape over generations. Moreover, his thousands of sketches of varying subjects can now be seen at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Cole was a very influential painter who taught Asher B. Durand and Frederic Edwin Church.