Top 25 Hudson River School artists who changed its history

American landscape painters who were active in the middle of the 19th century formed the Hudson River School. The Hudson River Valley, an area in New York State that served as a favourite subject for their paintings, inspired the group’s name.

Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church, and Albert Bierstadt are a few of the best-known Hudson River School artists. These painters frequently featured images of mountains, lakes, and forests because they were interested in expressing the majesty and beauty of the American countryside.

Paintings from the Hudson River School are distinguished by their attention to detail and imaginative use of colour and light to convey mood and atmosphere. The Romantic movement, which stressed the strength and beauty of nature, had an impact on these artists, and they tried to convey this in their paintings.

1. Thomas Cole

Hudson River School artists

Born: 1 February 1801, Bolton le Moors

Died: 11 February 1848, New York, United States

On view: National Gallery of Art

Education: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Series: The Course of Empire, The Voyage of Life

  • Thomas Cole, an English-American painter, was well-known for his landscapes and history paintings.
  • He is considered the founder of the Hudson River School
  • Cole’s romantic portrayal of the American wilderness is a hallmark of his work.
  • He later moved to Philadelphia and Catskill in New York in 1825.
  • As a painter, he was largely self-taught. He relied on books and studied the works of other artists.


2. Frederic Edwin Church

Hudson River School artists

Born: 4 May 1826, Hartford, Connecticut, United States

Died: 7 April 1900, New York, New York, United States

Periods: Hudson River School, Luminism, Romanticism

Children: Louis P. Church

Parents: Joseph Church, Eliza Janes Church

  • Frederic Edwin Church, an American landscape painter, was born in Hartford (Conn.).
  • He was a crucial figure in the Hudson River School of American landscape painters.
  • His most important works were displayed in one-painting shows to a paying audience in New York City.
  • He was one of America’s most prominent painters during his prime.


3. Asher Brown Durand

Hudson River School artists

Born: 21 August 1796, Maplewood, New Jersey, United States

Died: 17 September 1886, Maplewood, New Jersey, United States

Period: Hudson River School

Place of burial: The Green-Wood Cemetery, New York, United States

  • Asher Brown Durand is an American painter from the Hudson River School.
  • Durand was born in Maplewood, New Jersey and later died there (then known as Jefferson Village).
  • He was the eighth child of eleven.
  • Durand’s father was both a watchmaker and a silversmith.
  • Asher’s engravings of banknotes were used to create portraits for America’s first postage stamps (the 1847 series).
  • He also engraved some 1851 issues with his brother Cyrus.


4. Albert Bierstadt

Hudson River School artists

Born: 7 January 1830, Solingen, Germany

Died: 18 February 1902, New York, New York, United States

On view: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, de Young Museum

Spouse: Rosalie Ludlow (m. 1866–1893)

Education: Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (1853–1857)

  • Albert Bierstadt, a German-American painter, is best known for his expansive landscapes of America’s West.
  • Although he wasn’t the first to capture the sites, he was the most prominent painter of them throughout the 19th Century.
  • Bierstadt was born in Prussia. His family moved to the United States as a child. He studied painting in Dusseldorf for many years.
  • He was part of the Hudson River School’s second generation.


5. John Frederick Kensett

Hudson River School artists

Born: 22 March 1816, Cheshire, Connecticut, United States

Died: 14 December 1872, New York, New York, United States

  • John Frederick Kensett, an American landscape painter/engraver, was born in Cheshire (Conn.).
  • Thomas Cole had a significant influence on Kensett’s first work. However, Kensett was immediately influenced by more excellent colours and an interest n less dramatic topography. He preferred restraint in composition and palette.
  • He was the founder of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • From 1838 to 1838, he worked in New Haven as an engraver. Then he moved to New York City as a banknote engraving specialist.


6. Jasper Francis Cropsey

Hudson River School artists

Born: 18 February 1823, Rossville, New York, United States

Died: 22 June 1900, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, United States

On view: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art

  • Jasper Francis Cropsey, an American landscape artist from the Hudson River School, was a significant figure.
  • Cropsey was a young boy who experienced recurring periods of poor health.
  • Early drawings of architectural sketches and landscapes were made on notepads and in the margins of schoolbooks.
  • He was an architect by training and established his own office in 1843.


7. Sanford Robinson Gifford

Hudson River School artists

Born: 10 July 1823, Greenfield, New York, United States

Died: 29 August 1880, New York, New York, United States

  • Sanford Robinson Gifford, an American landscape painter, was a leader of the second-generation Hudson River School artists.
  • His work, which was highly regarded in Luminism, was known for its emphasis on light effects and soft atmospheres.
  • He spent his childhood in Hudson (New York) and enrolled at Brown University in 1842.
  • After his sophomore year in college, he left and moved to New York City to study art.
  • He also took anatomy classes at Crosby Street Medical College to study the human figure.


8. George Inness

Hudson River School artists

Born: 1 May 1825, Newburgh, New York, United States

Died: 3 August 1894, Bridge of Allan, United Kingdom

Nationality: American

  • Inness, who was neither a pure impressionist nor a realist, was a transitional figure. He wanted his works to blend the earthly with the ethereal to capture the essence of a place.
  • Art critics hailed Inness as America’s greatest artist during his lifetime.
  • Inness is most well-known for his mature works, which reflect the Tonalist movement and display an original and uniquely American style.
  • George Inness was born in Newburgh, New York.


9. Martin Johnson Heade

Hudson River School artists

Born: 11 August 1819, Lumberville, Pennsylvania, United States

Died: 4 September 1904, St. Augustine, Florida, United States

Nationality: American

Periods: Luminism, Romanticism, Hudson River School, Realism

Place of burial: The Evergreens Cemetery, New York, United States

  • Martin Johnson Heade, an American painter, was well-known for his seascapes and salt marsh landscapes.
  • Heade was the son of a shopkeeper in Lumberville.
  • He studied with Edward Hicks and, possibly, with Thomas Hicks.
  • His earliest works, which were mainly portraits, were created in the 1840s.
  • Heade was not an artist well-known during his lifetime. However, his work attracted attention from scholars, art historians and collectors in the 1940s.


10. Thomas Moran

Hudson River School artists

Born: 12 February 1837, Bolton, United Kingdom

Died: 25 August 1926, Santa Barbara, California, United States

Periods: Hudson River School, Luminism


11. Worthington Whittredge

Hudson River School artists

Born: 22 May 1820, Springfield, Ohio, United States

Died: 25 February 1910, Summit, New Jersey, United States

Period: Hudson River School

  • Thomas Moran, an American painter/printmaker from the Hudson River School of New York, was a Rocky Mountain-themed artist.
  • He was the younger brother of Edward Moran, a noted marine artist with whom he shared a studio.
  • Thomas Moran is a talented illustrator and an excellent colourist. He was hired to be an illustrator for Scribner’s Monthly.
  • His father was a member of a family that made handlooms.
  • Thomas Worthington Whittredge [1] May 22, 1820 – February 25, 1910) was an American artist from the Hudson River School.


12. Robert S. Duncanson

Hudson River School artists

Born: 1821, Fayette, New York, United States

Died: 21 December 1872, Detroit, Michigan, United States

Period: Hudson River School

Place of burial: Woodland Cemetery, Monroe, Michigan, United States

  • Robert Seldon Duncanson was a 19th-century American landscapist with European and African ancestry.
  • Duncanson, a second-generation Hudson River School artist, was inspired by Thomas Cole, a famous American landscape artist.
  • Duncanson, a black free man in antebellum America, was encouraged by the abolitionist community of America and England to promote and support his work.


13. John William Casilear

Hudson River School artists

Born: 25 June 1811, New York, New York, United States

Died: 17 August 1893, Saratoga Springs, New York, United States

  • John William Casilear was an American landscape painter who belonged to the Hudson River School.
  • Casilear was in New York City when she was born.
  • Durand was interested in landscape painting by the middle of the 1830s through his friendship with Thomas Cole.
  • Casilear slowly developed his talents in landscape art and painted in the style later known as the Hudson River School.
  • He had abandoned his engraving career entirely by the middle of the 1850s and started painting full-time.


14. David Johnson

Hudson River School artists

Born: 10 May 1827, New York, New York, United States

Died: 30 January 1908, Walden, New York, United States

  • David Johnson, an American painter, was a member of the second generation of Hudson River School painters.
  • Johnson was born in New York City (New York).
  • He spent two years studying at the National Academy of Design’s antique school and briefly studied with Jasper Francis Cropsey, a Hudson River artist.
  • He was a frequent exhibitor in the significant American art centres of Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and the Paris Salon of 1877.
  • Johnson, who died in Walden (New York) on January 30, 1908, was buried.


15. William Hart

Hudson River School artists

Born: 31 March 1823, Paisley, United Kingdom

Died: 17 June 1894, Mount Vernon, New York, United States

Period: Hudson River School

Children: Jessica Wallace Hart

Grandchild: Stanley Hart White

  • William Hart, a Scottish-born American landscape painter and cattle painter, was an artist at the Hudson River School.
  • James McDougal Hart was his younger brother, and Julie Hart Beers was his younger sister. His nieces, Letitia Bonnet Hart (and Mary Theresa Hart), became well-known painters too.
  • William Hart was born in Paisley in, Scotland. He immigrated to America in 1831 with his family and settled in Albany, New York.


16. Thomas Doughty

Hudson River School artists

Born: 19 July 1793, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Died: 22 July 1856, New York, New York, United States

  • Thomas Doughty, an American artist, was associated with the Hudson River School.
  • Thomas Doughty, a Philadelphia native, was the first American artist who worked exclusively as a landscaper.
  • While working as an apprenticing leather manufacturer, he learned how to paint.
  • He was elected an honorary academician to the National Academy of Design in 1827.


17. Thomas Hill

Hudson River School artists

Born: 11 September 1829, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Died: 30 June 1908, Raymond, California, United States

  • Thomas Hill, an English-born American artist in the 19th Century, was a.
  • Many of his paintings, especially of Yosemite Valley, are exquisite.
  • Thomas Hill was born in Birmingham (England) on September 11, 1829.
  • Edward Hill, his younger brother, was also a successful landscape painter.
  • Hill, along with Virgil Williams (painter) and Carleton Watkins (photographer), made his first visit to Yosemite Valley in 1865.


18. William Trost Richards

Hudson River School artists

Born: 3 June 1833, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Died: 8 November 1905, Newport, Rhode Island, United States

  • William Trost Richards was an American landscape painter.
  • He was a member of both the Hudson River School as well as the American Pre-Raphaelite Movement.
  • William Trost Richards was a Philadelphia native born November 14, 1833.
  • He attended Central High School in 1846 and 1847. He studied part-time with the German artist Paul Weber between 1850-1855.
  • He left for Europe in 1866 for a year. He returned to the East Coast and spent the six years that followed.


19. James McDougal Hart

Hudson River School artists

Born: 10 May 1828, Kilmarnock, United Kingdom

Died: 24 October 1901, Brooklyn, New York, United States

Period: Hudson River School

Siblings: William Hart

  • James McDougal Hart, a Scottish-born American landscaper and cattle painter from the Hudson River School, was born in America.
  • Hart was born in Kilmarnock in Scotland and was brought to America by his family as a youngster.
  • He studied sign- and carriage-making in Albany, New York. This could have been the same employer who had hired his brother during his early career.
  • James returned to Europe later for more artistic severe training. He studied in Munich and was a pupil at Friedrich Wilhelm Schirmer’s Kunstakademie Dusseldorf.
  • He is associated with the Dusseldorf school.


20. Alfred Thompson Bricher

Hudson River School artists

Born: 10 April 1837, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States

Died: 30 September 1908, New York, New York, United States

  • Alfred Thompson Brigcher was an artist associated with White Mountain art and the Hudson River School.
  • Bricher was born in Portsmouth (New Hampshire).
  • He attended Newburyport Academy in Massachusetts.
  • He started his business career in Boston, Massachusetts.


21. Julie Hart Beers

Hudson River School artists

Born: 10 April 1837, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States

Died: 30 September 1908, New York, New York, United States

  • Julie Hart Beers was an American landscape painter at the Hudson River School. She was one of the very few professional landscape painters that were commercially successful.
  • Her brothers, James McDougal Hart and William Hart, were both important Hudson River School landscape painters.
  • She married George Washington Beers in 1853. She and her two daughters and her brother moved to New York City after his death in 1856.


22. Sarah Cole

Hudson River School artists

Born: 1805, Lancashire, United Kingdom

Died: 1857, Catskill, New York, United States

Notable work: Mt. Aetna, A View of the Catskill Mountain House, Ancient Column Near Syracuse

Siblings: Thomas Cole

  • Sarah Cole, an American landscape painter, was the sister of Thomas Cole, a prominent American landscape painter.
  • Cole’s paintings often have similar subjects and visuals as her brother’s.
  • Although Cole lived most of her adult life in America, Cole was born in Lancashire in England.
  • Thomas was seventh among the eight children. Sarah was the youngest.
  • The family moved to Pittsburgh in 1824.


23. Jervis McEntee

Hudson River School artists

Born: 14 July 1828, Rondout, Kingston, New York, United States

Died: 27 January 1891, Rondout, Kingston, New York, United States

  • Jervis McEntee was an American painter from the Hudson River School.
  • Although he is not well-known in the American 19th-century art world, he was a close friend and travel companion to many of the Hudson River School’s most influential artists.
  • McEntee was born on July 14, 1828, in Rondout (New York).
  • We know little about his childhood. He attended the Clinton Liberal Institute in Clinton (New York) between 1844-1846.
  • In 1850, he exhibited his first self-taught painting at the National Academy of Design in New York City.


24. George Caleb Bingham

Hudson River School artists

Born: 20 March 1811, Augusta County, Virginia, United States

Died: 7 July 1879, Kansas City, Missouri, United States

  • George Caleb Bingham, an American soldier, politician and artist, was known as “the Missouri Artist” during his lifetime.
  • He was initially a Whig but was later elected to the Missouri legislature as a delegate before the American Civil War. There he opposed the expansion of slavery westward.
  • His mother first educated George Bingham and then he learned to be an artist on his own.
  • George was a great help to Harding during his short stay. It left a lasting impression.


25. Samuel Colman

Hudson River School artists

Born: 4 March 1832, Portland, Maine,
United States

Died: 26 March 1920, New York, New
York, United States


  • Samuel Colman, an American painter and interior designer, was best known for his Hudson River paintings.
  • Colman was born in Portland, Maine and moved to New York City as a youngster with his family.
  • Colman may have been influenced by his father’s bookstore, which attracted a highly educated clientele.
  • It is believed that he studied briefly with Asher Durand, a Hudson River School painter. His first exhibition at the National Academy of Design was in 1850.
  • He had already opened his New York City studio in 1854.

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