Thomas Cole Exhibition, Lecture At Albany Institute

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The Voyage of Life- Youth, Thomas Cole (1801-1848), 1839, Albany Institute of History and Art purchaseThe Albany Institute of History & Art has announced that it will install a special exhibition of Thomas Cole materials to coincide with Dr. Paul Schweizer’s lecture and book signing at the Albany Institute on Sunday, November 2, 2014, at 2 pm.

Dr. Schweizer is Director Emeritus of the Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute’s Museum of Art and will speak about his new book Thomas Cole’s Voyage of Life as part of the Institute’s Making it American lecture series. The Albany Institute owns Cole’s original oil studies for the Voyage of Life series as well as the first concept drawing for his painting, “Youth.” This event is open to the public and free with museum admission.

Thomas Cole (1801–1848) was the founder of the American art movement known as the Hudson River School. He created a distinctly American style of painting and influenced other significant artists of the time. Schweizer will discuss how Thomas Cole took the old master idiom of history painting and put it in the form of American landscape to create his most iconic series, the Voyage of Life. Schweizer will be available to sign copies of his book after his presentation.

In addition to the lecture, attendees will be able to visit the exhibition to see a selection of Thomas Cole materials from the Albany Institute’s collection. Exhibited items will include paintings, drawings, a sketchbook, rare print, and selected letters by Cole, as well as a portrait of Cole by Thomas Seir Cummings. Of special note are his earliest sketches made while living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1823, male figure studies sketched in Italy, paintings of the Colosseum and Italian countryside, and American landscapes. The exhibition will be up at least through the end of the year (check for the to-be-determined closing date).

The Making it American lecture series takes a broad look at what art, artifacts, objects, manuscripts, and other primary source materials can teach us about the development of American history, culture, the arts, and our national identity. Invited scholars analyze the construct of American values and ideals through our collections and exhibitions. Experts in their fields create presentations illuminating the development of our culture and international trends influences. These lectures are an exciting opportunity to learn from scholars recognized in their field who make their expertise and our collections accessible. Additional lecture in the series include:

Sunday, November 23 | 2 PM

A Promising Venture: Shaker Objects in the Index of American Design
Lesley Herzberg, Curator of Collections, Hancock Shaker

Produced between 1935 and 1942, the Index is a visual archive of American decorative arts that reflects the expanding interest in our nation’s material culture. Herzberg will illuminate the unique design characteristics of the Index’s Shaker Portfolio and how accompanying photographs created a record of their context. This lecture is co-sponsored by Partners for Albany Stories (PASt). Free with museum admission

Sunday, December 7 |  2PM

Under the Same Roofs: Slavery at the Ten Broeck Mansion in the late Eighteenth Century
Matthew J. Kirk, Principal Investigator/Cultural Resource Specialist, Hartgen Archeological Associates

Recent excavations and research revealed outbuildings on Ten Broeck land likely used as summer kitchens and/or slave quarters, like those at Schuyler Mansion, Johnson Hall, and other prominent residences, particularly in the south. With a unique mix of archaeology and history these findings provide insight into the slave/master relationships shortly before abolition. They suggest we reconsider our modern concepts of slavery in the north at the end of the eighteenth century. This lecture is co-sponsored by Partners for Albany Stories (PASt). Free with museum admission

This series has been supported by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities. To learn more about the Council, please visit their website:

The Albany Institute of History & Art is located at 125 Washington Avenue in Albany, New York. There is limited parking available in the museums lot, located at the corner of Dove and Elk Streets in Albany (just behind the museum). There is also on street parking available. The Albany Institute is open Wednesday-Saturday 10AM-5PM, Thursday until 8PM*, and Sunday Noon-5PM. On Tuesdays, the museum is open to registered groups only. The museum is closed on Mondays and some holidays. Admission is FREE for Albany Institute members; $10/adults; $8/seniors and students with ID; $6/children 6-12; FREE/children under 6. The museum is now offering free admission on Thursdays from 5PM-8PM.  For more information, visit or call (518) 463-4478.

Illustration: “The Voyage of Life: Youth” by Thomas Cole (1801-1848), 1839; an Albany Institute of History and Art purchase.


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