The Paintrist Files
Hudson River School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Hudson River School was a mid-19th century American art movement embodied by a group of landscape painters whose aesthetic vision was influenced by romanticism. The paintings for which the movement is named depict the Hudson River Valley and the surrounding area, including the Catskill, Adirondack, and the White Mountains; eventually works by the second generation of artists associated with the school expanded to include other locales in New England, the Maritimes, the American West, and South America.

Neither the originator of the term Hudson River School nor its first published use has been fixed with certainty. The term is thought to have originated with the New York Tribune art critic Clarence Cook or the landscape painter Homer D. Martin. As originally used, the term was meant disparagingly, as the work so labeled had gone out of favor after the plein-air Barbizon School had come into vogue among American patrons and collectors.


Hudson River School paintings reflect three themes of America in the 19th century: discovery, exploration, and settlement. The paintings also depict the American landscape as a pastoral setting, where human beings and nature coexist peacefully. Hudson River School landscapes are characterized by their realistic, detailed, and sometimes idealized portrayal of nature, often juxtaposing peaceful agriculture and the remaining wilderness, which was fast disappearing from the Hudson Valley just as it was coming to be appreciated for its qualities of ruggedness and sublimity. In general, Hudson River School artists believed that nature in the form of the American landscape was an ineffable manifestation of God, though the artists varied in the depth of their religious conviction. They took as their inspiration such European masters as Claude Lorrain, John Constable and J. M. W. Turner. Their reverence for America’s natural beauty was shared with contemporary American writers such as Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Several painters, such as Albert Bierstadt, were members of the Düsseldorf school of painting.


While the elements of the paintings were rendered realistically, many of the scenes were composed as a synthesis of multiple scenes or natural images observed by the artists. In gathering the visual data for their paintings, the artists would travel to extraordinary and extreme environments, which generally had conditions that would not permit extended painting at the site. During these expeditions, the artists recorded sketches and memories, returning to their studios to paint the finished works later.

The artist Thomas Cole is generally acknowledged as the founder of the Hudson River School. Cole took a steamship up the Hudson in the autumn of 1825, the same year the Erie Canal opened, stopping first at West Point, then at Catskill landing. He hiked west high up into the eastern Catskill Mountains of New York State to paint the first landscapes of the area. The first review of his work appeared in the New York Evening Post on November 22, 1825. At that time, only the English native Cole, born in a landscape where autumnal tints were of browns and yellows, found the brilliant autumn hues of the area to be inspirational. Cole’s close friend, Asher Durand, became a prominent figure in the school as well, particularly when the banknote-engraving business evaporated in the Panic of 1837.

The second generation of Hudson River school artists emerged to prominence after Cole’s premature death in 1848; its members included Cole’s prize pupil Frederic Edwin Church, John Frederick Kensett, and Sanford Robinson Gifford. Works by artists of this second generation are often described as examples of Luminism. In addition to pursuing their art, many of the artists, including Kensett, Gifford and Church, were among the founders of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Régis François Gignoux - Winter Scene in New Jersey
Régis François Gignoux (1816–1882) was a French painter who was active in the United States from 1840 to 1870. (Aliases: Marie-François-Régis Gignoux; Régis Francois Gignoux; Régis François Gignoux; Régis-François Gignoux) He was born in Lyon, France and studied at the École des Beaux-Arts under the French historical painter Hippolyte Delaroche, who inspired Gignoux to turn his talents toward landscape painting.

Régis François Gignoux - Winter Scene in New Jersey

Régis François Gignoux (1816–1882) was a French painter who was active in the United States from 1840 to 1870. (Aliases: Marie-François-Régis Gignoux; Régis Francois Gignoux; Régis François Gignoux; Régis-François Gignoux) He was born in Lyon, France and studied at the École des Beaux-Arts under the French historical painter Hippolyte Delaroche, who inspired Gignoux to turn his talents toward landscape painting.

Régis François Gignoux, Niagara Falls, 1855
oil on canvas, High Museum of Art

Régis François Gignoux, Niagara Falls, 1855

oil on canvas, High Museum of Art

Regis-Francois Gignoux, Midwinter Moonlight, before 1869,
oil on board - New Britain Museum of American Art - 

Regis-Francois Gignoux, Midwinter Moonlight, before 1869,

oil on board - New Britain Museum of American Art - 

fleurdulys:

Regis Francois Gignoux - On the Upper Hudson - 1862

fleurdulys:

Regis Francois GignouxOn the Upper Hudson - 1862
Régis François Gignoux, View Near Elizabethtown, N. J., 1847

Régis François Gignoux, View Near Elizabethtown, N. J., 1847

suum-cuique-tribuere:

Régis François Gignoux (1816–1882) was a French painter who was active in the United States from 1840 to 1870.

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View Near Elizabethtown. 1847. Oil.

Lake George. Circa 1868. Oil.

First Snow Along the Hudson River. 1859. Oil.

Mid-Winter Moonlight. Circa 1860. Oil.

View, Dismal Swamp, North Carolina. 1850. Oil.

Régis François Gignoux (1816–1882) was a French painter who was active in the United States from 1840 to 1870. (Aliases: Marie-François-Régis Gignoux; Régis Francois Gignoux; Régis François Gignoux; Régis-François Gignoux) He was born in Lyon, France and studied at the École des Beaux-Arts under the French historical painter Hippolyte Delaroche, who inspired Gignoux to turn his talents toward landscape painting.

Gignoux arrived in the United States from France in 1840 and eventually opened a studio in Brooklyn, New York. He was a member of the National Academy of Design, and was the first president of the Brooklyn Art Academy. George Inness, John LaFarge (1835–1910), and Charles Dormon Robinson[3] were his students. By 1844, Gignoux had opened a studio in New York City and became one the first artists to join the famous Tenth Street Studio, where other members included Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Church, Jasper Francis Cropsey, and John Frederick Kensett. He returned to France in 1870 and died in Paris in 1882.

Gignoux is best known for his meticulous renderings of Northeast American landscapes, and was the only member of the Hudson River School to specialize in snow scenes. The Brooklyn Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), the Georgia Museum of Art (University of Georgia, Athens), the High Museum of Art (Atlanta, Georgia), the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Hood Museum of Art (Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire), the Museum of Art at Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah), the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, Missouri), the New York Historical Society (New York City), the Parrish Art Museum (Southampton, New York), the Smith College Museum of Art (Northampton, Massachusetts), the United States Capitol Art Collection (Washington, D. C.), the Walters Art Museum (Baltimore, Maryland), the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, New York), and the Watson Gallery (Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts) are among the public collections holding work by Régis François Gignoux.

"A dramatic, newly restored 1843 painting of the interior of Mammoth Cave by Marie-Francois-Regis Gignoux has been restored as part of the conservation program for the Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture at the New-York Historical Society opening in November [2000]. …In his dramatically lit interior view of Mammoth Cave, Gignoux looks from deep in the cave across the so-called "Rotunda" toward the entrance, which is illuminated by an almost mystical light from the outside. From the War of 1812 onward nitre (lime nitrate) used in making saltpeter, one of the essential elements for gunpowder, was mined and prepared from bat guano in the Rotunda. …"  Currently, Mammoth Cave is touring as part of the The Hudson River School: Nature and the American Vision organized by the New-York Historical Society.

fleurdulys:

Marie-Francois-Regis Gignoux - Sunrise in the Alps - 

fleurdulys:

Marie-Francois-Regis Gignoux - Sunrise in the Alps - 
calthor:

Régis François Gignoux, Niagara, The Table Rock in Winter, 1847
nataliakoptseva:

Régis François Gignoux - Landscape

Régis François Gignoux (1816–1882) was a French painter who was active in the United States from 1840 to 1870. (Aliases: Marie-François-Régis Gignoux; Régis Francois Gignoux; Régis François Gignoux; Régis-François Gignoux)

nataliakoptseva:

Régis François Gignoux - Landscape

Régis François Gignoux (1816–1882) was a French painter who was active in the United States from 1840 to 1870. (Aliases: Marie-François-Régis Gignoux; Régis Francois Gignoux; Régis François Gignoux; Régis-François Gignoux)