OLANA EYE Skycam

Frederic Church, The ‘Bend in the River’ from Olana, c. 1870-73. Oil on academy board, 10 1/16 x 12 7/8 in. OL.1977.209
Frederic Church, Winter Sunset from Olana, c. 1871-2. Oil on academy board, 8 1/2 x 13 in. Collection of Olana State Historic Site, Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.

“Olana is the monument of Emerson’s, Thoreau’s, and Whitman’s America.” David Huntington, the visionary art historian who led the charge to save Olana from destruction in the 1960s

“We are having splendid Meteoric displays, magnificent sunsets and Auroras – red, green, yellow, and blue – and such – in profusion I have actually been drawn away from my usual steady devotion to the new house to sketch some of the fine things hung in the sky.” Frederic Church, 1870

“I make a study from my studio window of a sunset or twilight nearly every day.”  Frederic Church to fellow artist Martin Johnson Heade

On the occasion of Frederic Church’s 194th birthday, Olana has launched the OLANA EYE, a live skycam from the artist’s Studio Tower to share the iconic view of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains, a view that Church painted in the 19th century and that today inspires artists and visitors to Olana State Historic Site.  Olana’s famous Hudson Valley view is known for its dramatic atmospheric effects, including spectacular sunrise and sunset colors, which change throughout the year. 

Olana’s Main House and Studio command unparalleled views down the Hudson River and across the Catskills.  In 1869, Frederic Church referred to Olana as “the center of the world”.  The composed views from Olana convey an American identity tied to ideas of wilderness and scenic beauty.  Olana connects visually to the iconic landscape where a distinctly American art movement was created and continues to be celebrated. On canvas and in the creation of Olana’s 250-acre landscape, Church was able to translate nature into an immersive art form.

The Hudson Valley was the birthplace of the Hudson River School movement that was founded by Thomas Cole, Frederic Church’s friend and teacher, whose home is just across the Hudson River and is today connected by the Hudson River Skywalk pedestrian route.   Beginning in 1860, Frederic Church carefully composed and designed Olana’s 250 acres over several decades, with an artist’s eye to his property’s borrowed view of neighboring hills and valleys, the Hudson River, and distant mountain ranges.  The views beyond Olana — its viewshed — remain an essential part of Church’s original composition.  Over the last four decades, The Olana Partnership has collaborated with regional preservation organizations, governmental divisions and private landowners to protect the most important views from Olana.

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