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In the early nineteenth century, many in this country were searching for a style of art that they could call their own. Painter, poet, and essayist Thomas Cole (1801-1848) responded to this quest by creating pristine landscape paintings unlike any yet seen in America. His vision of wild and untouched scenery with majestic mountains and tangled forests stood in stark contrast to the gentle landscape images that had come before.
Influential people of the nascent New York cultural scene embraced his work enthusiastically, and Cole became the leader of an informal alliance of landscape artists now known as the Hudson River School.