LEARN: Frederic E. Church
Frederic Church, one of the premier American landscape painters, will forever be associated with the Hudson River Valley, where he painted and made his home. Immensely popular in the mid-19th century, his paintings are characterized by a calmness and sense of hope.
Born in 1826 in Hartford, Connecticut, Church studied for several years with Thomas Cole, widely regarded as the first exponent of the Hudson River School of painting. Church moved to New York in 1849 and began his independent career. Within a year he became the youngest artist ever to be elected to the National Academy of Design - a distinction that remains to this day.
Church traveled widely throughout his career, using his sketches of New England, South America, Europe, the Arctic, and the Middle East, to create the transcendent landscapes that brought him fame, respect, and wealth. By the late 1870s, severe rheumatism had largely curtailed his career, although he continued to sketch at his home and many trips to Mexico in the 1880's and 1890's. Church spent most of his last twenty years at his estate on the Hudson River, Olana, finally dying in New York City in 1900.