A landscape by seminal Hudson River School artist Thomas Cole (1801-1848) will be sold to aid the preservation of the Seward House Museum in Auburn, New York.
Cole's "Portage Falls on the Genesee," an 1839 painting that depicts a view of what is now Letchworth State Park in western New York, measures 84 by 60 inches and hung in the museum for decades.
The painting had been a gift to William H. Seward, a two-time governor of New York, a U.S. senator, and secretary of state under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. His home and its contents were willed to the Emerson Foundation in the 1950s, by Seward's grandson.
In 2008, the foundation transferred the home, property and contents to the Seward House Museum to comply with new state regulations related to museums. The Cole painting was retained by the foundation.
Foundation officials told The Citizen that they recently discovered the painting's value and will sell the work to raise funds for the museum. It is in a secure storage location until they reach a decision on the sale. Offers from museums, auctioneers and private dealers will be considered.