Thomas Cole and American Settlement
Renowned landscape painter Thomas Cole (1801–1848), inspired by his literary and artistic friends, believed that America’s grandeur resided in its unspoiled wilderness. Cole made the relationship between humans and their environment the frequent subject of his grand-scale compositions. Thomas Cole and American Settlement is a collaborative effort between the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and the Reynolda House Museum of American Art that brings together two iconic sister paintings, the Amon Carter’s Hunter’s Return (1845) and Reynolda’s Home in the Woods (1847). Experiencing the two great landscapes side by side, along with preparatory works by Cole, will provide visitors a rare opportunity to explore similarities and differences among the studies and finished compositions. Cole knew early on the benefits and detriments of human incursion into the land. Both paintings foreshadow the environmental cost of human habitation. The exhibition will include works from the Amon Carter’s collection depicting the relationship of settlers to the landscape, whether represented by pastoral ideals, the ravages of logging, the vicissitudes of suburban life, or the end results of industrialization and urbanization.