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New Context for Cole: ‘Thomas Cole’s Journey’ at The National Gallery, London

Despite being born in Britain, American painter Thomas Cole’s work has never been included with what many consider to be his true grouping as a landscape artist. Now, in a landmark exhibition coming to the National Gallery in London, his works are set to be reconsidered. The display marks the first showing of ‘The Course of Empire’ (1833-36, New York Historical Society) in the UK.

The exhibition provides a vivid new context for Cole’s ‘The Oxbow’ (1836, The Metropolitan Museum of Art), a founding masterpiece of American landscape painting. Although well established as a leading figure of landscape painting in early 19th-century America, Cole’s position in British art history has consistently been subject to question. However, next year, a collection of his brooding landscapes and mountain vistas will be shipped to the National Gallery in London from across the Atlantic for a rare European showcase. There is hope among fans of Cole’s work that this exhibition will bring about a long overdue re-evaluation of Cole’s status as a major global artist. 

While painting miles apart, it does not take much to see the similarities between Cole and the front runners of 19th century British landscape painting, John Constable and J. M. W. Turner. For the very first time, Cole’s work will be hung alongside masterpieces of his forebears and true contemporaries. Details of his extensive travels into Italy and other European centers will highlight the extent of Cole’s cross-continental artistic exchange. 

The exhibition will be on view from June 11, 2018 through October 7, 2018 at National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN, UK.

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Click on the slideshow for a sneak peek at the exhibition. | 13.09.2017 14:30