In 1818 a 17-year-old youth arrived in the USA with his parents and sisters from Bolton, Lancashire, England. The Industrial Revolution hadn’t been kind to the father of the family, and so they decided to try their fortune in the fledgling country across The Pond.
That youth, whose name was Thomas Cole, would eventually achieve renown as a master landscape artist and the founder of the Hudson River School of painting. After a few years spent in Ohio and Pennsylvania as an itinerant portrait painter, young Cole eventually arrived in New York and, eager to explore, took a fateful trip up the Hudson River to the Catskills. Love at first sight. He painted three scenes from the Catskills and exhibited them in New York City, where they caught the attention of men prominent in the art world. One was Asher B. Durand, who became a lifelong friend of Cole. His career was launched.
In 1836 Cole married Maria Bartow of Catskill, and from then until his untimely death at the age of forty-seven he made Cedar Grove in Catskill his home (after his death, Maria and their children continued to live there). Cedar Grove stayed in the Cole family until 1979. The Greene County Historical Society bought the property in 1998, and in 1999 it was declared a National Historic Site. After extensive restoration work Cedar Grove was opened to the public in 2001, for Thomas Cole’s 200th birthday, . It is now the venue for important exhibitions and lectures related to the Hudson River School artists.
In 2018 the Thomas Cole National Historic Site celebrates the 200th anniversary of Cole’s arrival in the USA with an exhibition titled Picturesque and Sublime: Thomas Cole’s Trans-Atlantic Inheritance. The first lecture of the season featured Tim Barringer, co-curator of the exhibition and professor of Art History at Yale, introducing this major show. It’s tempting to think of someone who is dubbed a “founder” or a “first” as someone who has made all things new, but in fact, a close study of history tells us that this isn’t so. Dr. Barringer’s lecture as well as the exhibition and the gorgeous catalogue produced for it are immensely enlightening about Cole’s artistic roots and inspirations.
To learn more about the Thomas Cole Historic Site and its events and programs, visit its website at http://thomascole.org.
To purchase prints or other products related to my two images in this post, click on each image to be directed to my website.
Funny what interesting information you can unearth quite by accident. Do you know what Main Mall Row is in Poughkeepsie? I discovered this while looking up some general information on the history of the “Queen City on the Hudson” and found it intriguing because I’ve photographed this area many times before. Wikipedia describes Main Mall Row as “an adjoining group of nine commercial buildings along the northeast corner of the intersection of Main and Garden streets in downtown Poughkeepsie.”
These Victorian Renaissance buildings arose from the ashes of a fire that destroyed the earlier buildings on this site in 1870. The name Main Mall Row originated during the 1970s, when the city attempted to establish a pedestrian mall in the two blocks of Main between Market and Academy Streets. The idea was to offer an alternative to the shopping malls to which downtown businesses were losing customers. As is too often the case, the malls won out in the end, but Poughkeepsie still boasts these architecturally significant buildings, which are still in use and were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Here are pictures from my recent visit, when I went to attend the superb concert of Handel’s Messiah at the Bardavon with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. The HVP continues to offer topnotch musical events in the mid Hudson Valley, and now with the renovations of Kingston’s UPAC completed, some of these concerts will be held there once again.
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To purchase the above pictures, click on the picture you’re interested in and you’ll be taken to my web page for that picture.
A reminder! If you’re in the Saugerties area and haven’t yet visited the current exhibition at the Emerge Gallery on Main Street, now is the time to do so. The “Primar(il)y Red” show closes on January 8. My popular photograph of the historic red Adirondack barn (now, alas, demolished) is in the show.
The Emerge Gallery in Main Street, Saugerties, will have the opening for its Petit show this Saturday (with preview on Friday). I have two framed images in the show, which runs through most of November. The Emerge Gallery, I’ve discovered, is a great place to find a gift for that hard-to-please person! Here are the details.
Many towns along the Hudson River are in varying stages of experiencing a revival, and a large part of that process is due to the influx of artists who want to create their works here, and the galleries that support them by exhibiting their works. Saugerties is no exception. A fairly recent newcomer to the Saugerties art scene and one of the most outstanding art venues in the village is the Emerge Gallery & Art Space on Main Street (close to the intersection with Partition Street).
Emerge Gallery focuses on emerging artists from the Hudson Valley region and beyond by hosting monthly group exhibitions and other events. Proprietor and curator Robert P. Langdon strives to identify and exhibit the best emerging artists from the Hudson Valley region and beyond. Each month he mounts a new exhibition, and frequently each show includes work of various mediums and styles. The exhibition Equine: A Group Exhibition of Art Celebrating the Horse pays tribute to Saugerties’ tradition of horse shows. With a stunning variety of work by over forty artists, everyone who visits is guaranteed to see something reflecting their particular taste and interests. The photos I’m including here give some idea of what Equine offers.
This wonderful show closes on October 2 and will be followed by Change: A Group Exhibition of Art by Members of the National Association of Women Artists (NAWA). Running from October 7 to October 30, Change has its opening reception on Saturday, October 7, 2017 from 5-8 PM, with an advance preview on October 6 as part of Saugerties’ First Friday.
Before he opened Emerge Gallery, Robert Langdon was Director at Gallery U in Red Bank and Westfield, NJ, where he played an instrumental role in furthering the art scene in both communities. Then as now, his strength lay in community building and supporting and promoting emerging artists.
Robert has previously been Director of Sales and Marketing at a nonprofit children’s picture book publisher in San Francisco, where he began working one-on-one with fine artists; still-life photographer in Manhattan where he photographed still life for Macy’s and A&S catalogs among others; and teacher in suburban New Jersey. Born and raised in New Jersey, he lived in San Francisco for thirteen years and now calls the beautiful Hudson Valley home.
Emerge Gallery is an open and welcoming environment that is also available to rent for solo and privately curated exhibitions. Artwork from current and previous exhibitions, along with online exclusives, are available through the gallery’s website at www.emergegalleryny.com.
One of the buildings at the Bronck Museum.
I first “met” Coxsackie seven years ago when photographing for my book Historic Hudson Valley, and my visit back then was limited to the famous Bronck Museum. Pieter Bronck — despite his Dutch-sounding name, he was of Swedish origin — bought property on that site from Mohican Indians in 1662 and, with his Dutch wife Hilletje Jans, built a house there the following year. Over the next several decades many more buildings, including barns and other farm structures, were added.
The settlement of Coxsackie itself predates Bronck’s arrival by some ten years, and although he didn’t give his name to the town — that honor belongs to the Coxsackievirus, which was first isolated here — his name is enshrined farther south in New York State, in the Bronx.
During a recent Open House in which several of Coxsackie’s churches opened their doors to welcome visitors I had the chance to see a bit more of this town. Below are a few of the photos I took that day, along with two from the Bronck Museum taken a few weeks later.
As part of this year’s celebration of Pieter Bronck’s 400th birthday, there will be a guided tour of Coxsackie’s Historic District on Friday September 8 and Saturday September 9 (rain dates the following week). This little jewel in the northern part of Greene County is well worth getting to know. You can find more information by clicking here.
The famous Good Shepherd Window in the Second Reformed Church.
The First United Methodist Church.
The Gospel Community Church, a friendly and musical Pentecostal church.
Impressive organ pipes at St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
An “extract” of a barn building at the Bronck Museum.
From grand resort to beloved ruin — that, in essence, is the story of the Cold Spring Resort Hotel in Tannersville, once one of the many popular vacation spots that dotted the Mountain Top and now — well, those of us who, like me, have been following its gradual deterioration over the past few years, wonder each time we drive down that road, is it still there? or has it finally fallen victim to a combination of meteorological and human (as in wrecking ball) conditions? It was slated for demolition already in February 2015 and yet what’s left of it still stands.
I’ve been using my cameras to document its decline for about four years now, and for those of you who aren’t familiar with this building, I’m posting a couple of my pictures. But even more remarkable is a group of artists who have been making paintings of the Cold Spring Hotel during this period. Beyond the significance of their art as such is the question of whether something beautiful can be made of something that in its essence is not beautiful — in this case decay, ruin. Personally I have no patience with those who maintain a literalist view that to create beauty you must start with a beautiful subject. If anything, Robert Glenn Ketchum’s photographs documenting environmental degradation in the Hudson Valley offer an eloquent denial of that fallacy.
And if you want a further, creative denial of that fallacy, a little exhibit at the Catskill Mountain Foundation’s gallery in Hunter will convince you that beauty can be found in decay, in ruin. Treat yourself to a visit with paintings by Karen F. Rhodes and Sheila Trautman. As a sample I’m posting photos I took — not the most ideal likenesses because it was unavoidable to keep the lights in the room from reflecting into the frames. But they will give you an idea of what’s in store for you.
Kingston’s Stockade and Rondout Districts are familiar to history buffs, but scattered throughout Ulster’s County Town are individual buildings of historic significance. One of these is the Lace Mill, whose existence I learned of when I was recently invited to the opening of a photography show being held there.
Built around 1902–1903 and originally housing United States Lace Curtain Mills, this example of industrial architecture is located in Midtown Kingston, close (very close indeed, as you discover when you drive up Cornell Street, where it is located) to the railroad and thus convenient for the shipping of products to markets outside the area. This was economically important to Kingston as an industrial center, since the decline of the Delaware & Hudson Canal, on which so much commercial traffic had depended. Later, in the 1940s and by that time a subsidiary of the Scranton Lace Company, the business employed between 250 and 300 people. It ceased operations in 1951, however, and was used as a warehouse for some years after that.
By 2013 the warehouse and thus the building itself was virtually abandoned. At this point the Rural Ulster Preservation Company (RUPCO) stepped in and purchased it with a view to reconstructing and renovating it to provide a variety of facilities for artists: living and studio space as well as venues for exhibitions. This has been a noteworthy step considering Kingston’s growing reputation as a nationally important center for the arts.
Now known as The Lace Mill, this historic building joins many other mills throughout the Northeast—I have personally seen several in southern New Hampshire as well as in Rhode Island—that have been renovated and repurposed and are now enjoying a new existence, usually as living accommodation.
What I found especially interesting was the space on (and under) the ground floor that still housed some of the original machinery from the mill. Several visitors who had come to view one or more of the exhibitions taking place also made a point of photographing the machinery. Here you see two of my photos along with one of the building’s exterior (where you can see the sign proclaiming “United States Lace Curtain Mills”). It’s gratifying to see concerted local efforts succeed in saving a historically significant building from being abandoned and eventually torn down, and instead giving it a chance for new life by linking the past with the present. Thank you, RUPCO.
Are you looking for some new home decor to brighten your living space? Please take a look at my recent photographs of another local landmark — the Saugerties Lighthouse, in painterly (artistic) and historic sepia versions.