The Thomas Cole Historic Site is substantially increasing its online presence with the launch of a new interactive website where visitors can see Thomas Cole’s paintings in a new way, enabling a greatly enhanced understanding of the artist and his work.
The most ambitious feature of the new website is the learning portal. Five years in the making, it offers 150 of Thomas Cole’s best-known artworks all in one place. Written by some of the top scholars in the field of American art, it gives you the experience of seeing Cole’s artwork with a team of experts by your side.
High-resolution digital technology reveals details that are not evident in printed reproductions, and the visitor can zoom in closer to the painted surface than would be permissible in a museum. The database of images will continue to grow, eventually becoming as complete a resource as possible for Cole’s artistic output.
Photo: Autumn in the Catskills by Thomas Cole. Oil on wood, 1827.
The Thomas Cole Historic Site has announced that it has received a bequest of $1,000,000 from the estate of Raymond Beecher (1917–2008), a guiding light in the preservation of the Thomas Cole Site as well as countless other historic properties in the area. The newly established Raymond and Catharine Beecher Memorial Fund will be used for the maintenance of the buildings and grounds of Cedar Grove, the 19th- century home of Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole.
The bequest is restricted to funding the maintenance of the building and grounds of the Thomas Cole Historic Site, and only a portion of the interest may be used each year so that the principal will endure. Were it not for Raymond Beecher, who passed away in October at the age of 91, there might not be a Cedar Grove today. When the property was up for sale and possibly headed for demolition, Beecher put up his own money to buy the property and begin the restoration process. According to Thomas Cole Historic Site Executive Director Elizabeth Jacks, “It might not have happened without him. He led the charge. So we are delighted that his legacy lives on in a way that helps maintain the site he loved so much.”
Raymond Beecher was a soldier, educator, historian, writer, philanthropist, and public servant. He was the Chairman of the Greene County Historical Society and the Greene County Historian for many years. He was a leader in the establishment of the Vedder Library – a collection of important pieces of Greene County history. Beecher was a World War II veteran serving in both Europe and the Pacific. He wrote several books and for many years wrote a weekly column in local newspapers. He was declared a “Greene County Treasure” by the County Legislature in 2007.
Cedar Grove is the historic name for the Thomas Cole Historic Site, a non-profit organization that preserves and interprets the site where the artist Thomas Cole lived, worked, was married, and where he died at the age of 47. Today the site consists of the Federal style brick home (c. 1815) in which Thomas Cole resided with his family, as well as the artist’s original studio building, on five landscaped acres with a magnificent view of the Catskill Mountains.
Photo: Raymond Beecher in the grounds of his beloved Cedar Grove. Photo Richard Philp.
Cedar Grove, the Thomas Cole National Historic Site has announced a series of guided hikes to the nearby places that inspired Thomas Cole and fellow artists of the Hudson River School. On the hikes you will see the views that appear in some of the most beloved landcape paintings of the 19th-century and hear stories that bring their history to life. The hikes range from easy walks to moderately vigorous climbs. All hikers will receive a copy of the Hudson River School Art Trail Guide, a new 48-page book with full-color illustrations of the paintings that were inspired by the sites along the trail. The book includes an introduction by Kevin Avery, curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and it is published by the Thomas Cole Historic Site. The book will be available for sale in our visitor center starting in mid-June.
Each hike is limited to twelve people and they depart from the Thomas Cole Historic Site at 9am. Hikes designated as “Easy” are approximately two hours in length. Those designated as “Moderate” are closer to four hours. Each of the guided hikes also includes a guided tour of the Thomas Cole Historic Site at the end of the hike. The total price per person: $15, or $10 for members.
Here is a schedule of the hikes:
June 6: Sunset Rock and the Catskill Mountain House (Moderate)
July 18: Kaaterskill Falls and the Catskill Mountain House (Moderate)
August 1: The Catskill Mountain House and North-South Lake (Easy)
September 5: Kaaterskill Falls and the Catskill Mountain House (Moderate)
October 3: Sunset Rock and the Catskill Mountain House (Moderate)
Cedar Grove, the Thomas Cole National Historic Site is seeking volunteers to conduct on-site school programs during the 2009-2010 school year. The schedule and time commitment are very flexible although a brief training will be held June 5 and 6, 2009. School Programs Docents impart meaningful information about the life, relationships and works of the 19th-century artist Thomas Cole through hands-on activities catered to each grade level and subject area. To get involved contact Education Coordinator Gregory Rosenthal at 518-943-7465 ext. 2, or at firstname.lastname@example.org . Individual informational meetings will be held May 28-31.