A View of the Two Lakes and Mountain House, Catskill Mountains, Morning
On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, Imagining the New Nation’s Landscape, 1800–1880
Nestled in this panoramic landscape by Thomas Cole is the popular focal point of Catskill tourism—the Mountain House, opened in 1824. The title designates the time to be morning—recalling the fact that Mountain House visitors were routinely roused at daybreak to observe the sun rising over the Hudson River. Set on 300 acres of a high plateau known as Pine Orchard, the resort offered dramatic mountain and valley views. Cole placed the Mountain House within a panoramic expanse that included some of the area’s best-known features, including the distinctive mountain peaks of High Peak and Round Top, and North and South Lakes.
Oil on canvas
35 13/16 x 53 7/8 in. (91 x 136.9 cm)
frame: 43 13/16 x 61 7/8 x 3 1/4 in. (111.3 x 157.2 x 8.3 cm) (show scale)
Signed lower right: "T Cole / 1844"
Dick S. Ramsay Fund
Thomas Cole (American, born England, 1801-1848). A View of the Two Lakes and Mountain House, Catskill Mountains, Morning, 1844. Oil on canvas, 35 13/16 x 53 7/8 in. (91 x 136.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 52.16 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 52.16_PS2.jpg)
overall, 52.16_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
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Can you tell me about this?
Thomas Cole, a great painter of the Hudson River School, is depicting a popular tourist destination in the Catskill Mountains called Catskill Mountain House. Cole is well known for using Romantic motifs in his landscapes, such as the dying gnarled tree in the foreground and the beautiful light streaming through the clouds. He infuses the view with emotion and a sense of a higher power.
The Catskill Mountain House opened in 1824 and had remarkable views of the Hudson River Valley. Cole also includes the nearby lakes and trails that were added attractions at this location.
Is the book he's carrying a journal? Documenting his journey perhaps?
It's most likely a sketchbook. We think the figure may be a self-portrait of the artist, or represent the idea of artists visiting this picturesque site in general!