An American Art grant to the Thomas Cole National Historic Site will fund completion of the reinterpretation and reinstallation of the famed American painter’s home in the Hudson Valley. The final phase of this project, which as been underway for more than a decade, will see the restoration of Cole’s decorative wall paintings, a new presentation of a collection-based exhibition and Cole’s private rooms, and incorporation of primary sources into the visitor experience through digital technology.
“More than a decade of detective work has revealed that Thomas Cole transformed his home’s rather ordinary interior into a dramatic three-dimensional work of art.”
—Jean Dunbar, PhD, a historic interiors expert who has overseen restoration of the 1815 Main House for the entirety of the project
The Thomas Cole National Historic Site announced that the Henry Luce Foundation has awarded it a grant of $180,000 to complete Phase III of the reinterpretation and reinstallation of the artist’s home, the Site’s 1815 Main House.
Phase III builds on the successful completion of Phases I and II that resulted in the discovery and restoration of original decorative wall painting by Cole in the first-floor parlors, the restoration of his interior designs in these rooms, and the creation of digital story-telling installations within the historic rooms that explore Cole’s passions and ambitions, his proto-environmentalist views, and the societal forces that shaped his art.
Phase III will continue the initiative on the second floor to reveal Cole’s design of his private family rooms and explore the last decade of the artist’s life, a time when the nation was experiencing rapid cultural changes not unlike today. Phase III will also unveil a major new finding: newly discovered decorative wall painting in a first-floor room that research suggests was Cole’s home art gallery. The completed project will enable visitors and scholars to see original Thomas Cole paintings in the gallery space that Cole designed for their presentation.
“We are enormously grateful to the Luce Foundation for this transformative support and everything they do to advance American art,” said Elizabeth B. Jacks, Executive Director of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. “This important support will allow us to complete the interpretive arc guiding the visitor experience at the artist’s historic home and further illuminate Thomas Cole’s influence on American culture.”